At the June 19 meeting, the board that runs the Lake Forest Elementary Charter School announced a budget for the 2012-2013 school year that looks quite similar to the 2011-2012 budget.

This year’s expected budget of $4,033,921 anticipates a nearly $60,000 increase in additional instructional expenses, compared to 2011-2012.   The school hopes for around $35,000 in additional grants to help off-set these costs.  All in all, the differences from last year’s budget are slight, and seem to reflect predictable increases in areas like utilities and insurance that the board discussed.

You can view a preliminary 2012-2013 budget for Lake Forest Elementary here.

“As you can see, we are ahead in almost every category,” said member Donald Pate.

Director of Finance and Operations Bernell St. Cyr led the meeting.  He explained that approximately 96% of the school’s budget comes from state and local per student funding.  Because school boards are required to release budgets before they know how much per student funding they’ll be receiving, many boards in the city expect to amend their budgets as more information comes in.  Lake Forest tracks its budget on a monthly basis. St. Cyr provides budget updates at each monthly meeting.

CPA John Murray who helped the school prepare its budget said, “Everything’s driven by the number of students.  As things come up, just look and see if there’s an amendment that needs to happen.”

Principal Mardele Early said that per student funding was continuing to drop in New Orleans in relation to low property taxes.  Calculations used to determine per student funding, she said, were based on property tax levels from a few years previous.  She said that the data was now catching up to post-Katrina levels in which property tax levels have dropped significantly.

The budget anticipates a $200,000 drop in local funding to be off-set by a similar increase in state funding.

St. Cyr also reiterated the school’s mission of acting responsibly and openly in the community.  “This isn’t about Lake Forest.  It’s about New Orleans East, and our community,” he said.

The meeting was attended by members Windi D. Brown, Gina Dupart, Leila Eames, Donald Pate, and Brian Richburg.  Also present were CEO and Principal Madele S. Early, Bernell St. Cyr., Operations Coordinator Annetta Soldano, and CPA John Murray.  Absent was President Lee Caston, and member Denise Williams.

The board adjourned at 1:19p.m.