Dec 2, 2011 5:01 PM by Associated Press
The St. Landry Parish School Board has refused one board member's request to ask the state Legislative Auditor's Office to examine the district's finances, while voting to cut employees' travel expenses and ending their sabbatical leaves.
The Advocate reports the board also narrowly approved Thursday a personnel committee's recommendation denying employee requests for sick leave because of the district's declaration earlier this year of a financial emergency.
Another Personnel Committee recommendation failed - it would have required employees to verify a medical disability when using accumulated sick leave by having doctors hired by the district examine them.
The board in addition accepted a Finance Committee's recommendation to end all travel costs for board members to travel to out-of-state meetings.
Board member John Miller said an Executive Committee, which met Monday, took no action when he asked to have St. Landry ask the Legislative Auditor's Office to conduct an investigation of the school district, which Miller said is "bankrupt and broke."
In a Monday Finance Committee meeting, finance director Tressa Miller said the district's current $100 million operating budget shows a current projected ending fund balance of slightly more than $25,000.
At Thursday's meeting, Miller's brought the matter up again, but his motion to have a legislative auditor examine district's financial condition failed to receive the required unanimous vote for adding an item to the agenda.
"If you have nothing to hide, I can't see why there is no action being taken about what's under the rug and what's above the rug," said board member Anthony Standberry, who voted for Miller's motion.
Travel expenses for workers will be reduced from 51 cents per mile to 26 cents effective Jan. 1, according to the board's approval of an Executive Committee recommendation.
According to that committee's report, acting Superintendent Donnie Perron said the cuts in travel costs will save an estimated $350,000 annually.
The report also said employees' travel expenses cost the district about $700,000 during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Miller, who also voted against the denial of sabbatical leaves, said the board is taking away a fundamental right of employees to seek self-improvement at the district's cost.
The medical disability recommendation which failed would have required employees on medical leave or disability to be examined by a doctor hired by the district.