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Longtime middle-school principal stepping down but will stay on at Lusher

Longtime middle school principal Brenda Bourne is stepping down, Lusher’s board learned at their monthly meeting, April 26. Bourne will finish out her year as principal then work for Lusher in an as yet unspecified capacity, Lusher’s chief executive officer Kathy Riedlinger announced.

The job will be advertised.

“She’s just been doing this for a long time,” Riedlinger told The Lens, while declining to speak further on Bourne’s behalf. Efforts to contact Bourne for comment were unsuccessful.

Bourne has worked for Lusher since 1991, first as a counsellor, later as assistant middle school principal. She became principal after Hurricane Katrina.

In anticipation of an upcoming public hearing on its 2014-15 budget — 6 p.m. May 14 at the school’s Fortier Campus — the board approved a preliminary budget and calendar.

Chief financial officer Lynden Swayze said that with a lot of financial information still unknown for the coming year, she created a tentative spending plan that closely mirror’s last year’s, knowing full well that important numbers will change.

“There have been some minor staffing moves,” Swayze said. “We hired a couple new Teacher Leaders. There was an unconfirmed six-percent increase in medical costs, and a confirmed teacher retirement increase from 27.2 percent to 28 percent, which is a huge cost to us. “We need more money for technology and better internet since the testing is all on computers. We are also expected to pay water this year, but I haven’t gotten a bill.”

Additional information is needed from the state and federal governments, in particular the per-pupil allocation that will flow to Lusher under the state’s Minimum Foundation Program, Swayze said. “It’s hard for me to do a budget when I have no confirmation regarding how much MFP will change,” she said. “I’m getting news there might be an MFP increase, but we haven’t gotten anything in writing.”

Lusher’s projected budget will be available for public review in the school’s Fortier office as of April 30. The budget hearing follows on May 14, then on May 17 the board will review and adopt its final spending plan.

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