Calcasieu Parish School Board votes to research checkbook initiative

Calcasieu Parish School Board votes to research checkbook initiative

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A week ago, we reported on an online financial system proposed by school board member Fred Hardy. At Tuesday night’s meeting, the board members had a lot to say about whether the idea should move forward.

Ahead of the meeting, school superintendent Karl Bruchhaus made the recommendation to hold off on voting for the ‘Louisiana Checkbook’ initiative until staff researched the program and its cost.

Some school board members questioned why the program was needed at all when the school district has received awards for its financial reporting. John Duhon admitted he needed to learn more about the program, but then made a motion to vote immediately on the initiative.

We can bring it up on any agenda on any month and vote it in. Therefore, I’m going to make a motion to vote it down tonight. I think we need to know a heck of a lot more about this. I’d like to amend the motion," Duhon said.

That’s when other members voiced their concerns— saying there’s no harm in simply digging deeper into the ‘Louisiana Checkbook’ program, to be sure they’re fully knowledgeable before making a decision.

“All we’re asking is to let the staff investigate and see how much it’s going to cost. There’s been some numbers thrown around that I think are completely erroneous for the sake of scaring us away from doing it. I think killing it tonight without investigating is a tremendous mistake, I think it sends a horrible message. I’m not prepared--maybe we don’t even do anything but killing it tonight is a very aggressive measure that says ‘i’m not even willing to hear it,” Eric Tarver, Calcasieu Parish School Board member, said.

In the end, Duhon withdrew his motion— and in an eight to six vote, it was decided staff will research the program and report back to the Budget and Financial Management Committee September 24.

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