Calcasieu Schools sees declining revenues in budget

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In the midst of the down economy, the Calcasieu Parish School Board is finally beginning to feel the effects.

"We've been slow to feeling the economy," says Karl Bruchhaus, chief financial officer for CPSB. "Now that we've felt it we must react the same way that the rest of the country has reacted."

The Calcasieu Parish School Board is looking at a shortfall of 17 million dollars in the 272 million dollar budget for the 2010-2011 school year.

Bruchhaus says sales tax issues are partially to blame.

"The school board collects about 90 million dollars worth of sales tax a year for operations," says Bruchhaus. "That's about one-third of our total budget."

The decline accounts for a 4.6 million dollar shortfall in sales tax revenues.

Bruchhaus says the increase in teacher retirement rates and school employee retirement rates have also caused the shortfall.

Teacher retirement rates have increased 4.7% while school employee retirement rates have increased by 6.5%.

"Both of those rates are going up substantially," says Bruchhaus. "This is going to cost Calcasieu 10 million more dollars next year that we're not paying this year."

Bruchhaus says the next three to four months of decision making will not be easy.

"We need to examine every aspect of our system and see how we can best tweak those to stay as efficient as possible," says Bruchhaus.

The school board will further discuss ways to cut back on their budget at their next meeting February 2nd.

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