The recently released 2012-13 budget for Lagniappe Academies projects a year-end surplus, with expenses dipping even as enrollment rises.  With revenues projected at $2.1 and expenses at $2 million, Lagniappe envisions an $87,654 surplus at the end of the coming year. It would allow the school to make up for last year’s deficit and begin building a financial cushion, officials said.

This year Lagniappe Academies is adding second grade and 40 to 45 students, bringing the total enrollment to 140 students in grades K-2 and 5-6.  Lagniappe’s goal is to become a K-12 school, but “facilities is and continues to be an issue,” said Ninh Tran, director of talent development.

The $2.1 million in projected revenue is a 10 percent drop from last year, despite increased enrollment. While the state’s Minimum Foundation Program allocation rises by 28 percent, reflecting the increase in enrollment, other revenue streams will drop significantly in 2012-13. For example last year’s $200,000 in funds for start-up schools from the Public Charter School Program, is not available in the coming year.

The budget anticipates $710,000 in donations, a sizable goal, but less than last year’s $950,000 in donations.

Even with generous donations, the school finished the 2011-12 school year with a $28,968 deficit, which it hopes to erase in the coming year.

The projected $88,000 surplus will require trimming last year’s expenses by $323,340 or 16 percent.

A new modular building added to last year’s expenses. With no construction scheduled in the coming year, property services are slated to drop $80,000. In the absence of new construction, federal “E-rate” reimbursements for technology infrastructure will also drop sharply

The school hopes to improve pedestrian access for students who live nearby, thereby saving $45,000 in busing costs. “Even though the Lafitte development,” where many students live, “is across the street from us, we don’t want our students to cross Claiborne, so we currently pick them up with our buses,” Tran said. “We are working with the city to get crosswalks and crossing guards so that we can reduce the cost of transportation.”

Outlay for materials and supplies is also projected to drop, but the draft budget’s biggest savings lies in the reduced cost of professional services. They’re scheduled to fall to $103,056, less than half last year’s $215,740. The draft budget does not make clear how those savings will be realized. The Lens will seek clarification at the budget hearing on Aug.  29 at 4 pm.  The hearing will be followed by a board meeting at 5:30 pm.