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In the News

School Board adopts 2018-19 budget

By Cyndi Sellers

The Cameron Parish School Board adopted its 2018-2019 budget at the regular voting meeting Monday afternoon. No changes were made from the draft budget presented last month. The final budget is $29.3 million, with expected revenues of $16.5 million, resulting in a deficit of $12.8 million.

This deficit is about $4 million more than last year, but is due to the cost of building extra classrooms at the Grand Lake and Hackberry schools. Otherwise, expenses remain about the same.

As of June 30, the School Board had $35.8 million in undesignated general fund investments, with an additional $15.3 million allocated or obligated. Dedicated funds such as scholarships, special projects, and the Cheniere LEAD program bring total investments to $51.9 million.

Some additional income is expected from school section leases next month. Land Manager Lee Bloch said 12 leases could come up for bid in August making it the largest lease sale he has conducted for the Board. He sought direction from the Board on three leases that have issues: Rabbit Island, because of an expected restoration project; Lacassine Refuge, because of a possible hunting ban from US Fish and Wildlife; and Sabine Refuge, because of access issues.

One oil and gas lease, at Pine Pasture, is not producing yet because a pipeline needs to be accessed. The Board went into executive session to receive information about the legal status of the property in question, and Bloch was given authority to relay the information to the company.

The Board will save a little money on student insurance next year. The quote for 2018-2019 came in at $18,577, a $2,800 reduction from last year. The insurance covers all students, including athletes and cheerleaders, as a secondary policy if there is a primary insurance in place.

Charles Adkins reported that the fair market value appraisal of the Educational Conference Center in Cameron should be available at the end of the week, and the Board can consider it at its August meeting.

Adkins said GOHSEP in Baton Rouge has cleared the building for sale, but FEMA has not yet done so. The Cameron Parish Library has expressed interest in purchasing the building for conversion into a main library to replace the one lost in Hurricane Rita.

Adkins also reported on FEMA Project Worksheets from Hurricane Harvey flooding. The School Board had five PWs for the event, of which FEMA will only pay for three.

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