St. Helena schools on verge of bankruptcy
POSTED: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 8:55pm
UPDATED: Monday, September 27, 2010 - 8:56pm
Still no decisions made about how to fix Saint Helena's crumbling school system, but education leaders say something has to be done fast. That's after a financial consultant told district judge, James Brady, the school system is on the verge of bankruptcy.
In court today, the financial consultant said the schools are pulling $1.5 million from their emergency funds for the 2010/2011 fiscal year. That's nearly half of their surplus funds. He says if they continue spending at this rate, the surpus money will be gone by the end of the 2012 school year and the schools won't be able to operate.
"If that should happen that we go broke, then we're not doing what the constitution says we have to do," says superintendent Daisy Slan.
State officials suggested in court that the school system isn't as bad off as they say they are. They say St. Helena's administrative costs are among some of the highest in the state. They also said the school system received 1.5 million dollars in grant money and another 1.5 in special funding for renovations.
Slan says it will cost more than that to bring the schools up to par. During her testimony, she said it would cost $22 million to build a new school complex. It would cost about $20 million to fully renovate all three schools and $2 million to lease temporary buildings for three years while the schools are fixed.
Right now, the plaintiffs in the case are asking the state to fund those t-buildings, while school board members hope to implement a new school tax in the parish.
Judge James Brady plans to meet with each school board member individually. He will also talk with the bi-racial committee being set up in the parish. We'll continue to keep you posted on all the lastest as we learn more.