- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The state education department says it has yet to receive a copy of the Lafayette Parish School Board’s 2014-15 budget with the required certification that it was adopted following steps outlined in state law.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/12aRJi6) Superintendent of Education John White, who weighed in on the budget issue in a memo to Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper dated Tuesday, stopped short of stating that the school board’s budget was not legally adopted. However, he outlined state laws that public bodies are required to follow when adopting a budget.

The education department’s general counsel, Joan Hunt, had issued an undated memo to White that said it appeared the budget wasn’t legally adopted.

Another public hearing also should have been held for comments on the substantially changed budget, Hunt wrote.

Cooper said that while he submitted a copy of the board’s adopted budget to the state, he did not sign it because his signature would have certified that it met the requirements of the law.

State law allows public bodies to operate using 50 percent of its prior year’s budget, if a new budget isn’t adopted by Sept. 15.

The board met on Sept. 15 and adopted a version of the budget that included cuts and other changes recommended by a majority of its members, rejecting an alternative budget proposal Cooper had made days before, on Sept. 11.

Cooper has instructed chief financial officer Billy Guidry to continue operations at 50 percent of the 2013-14 budget, which has stalled cuts approved in the version of the budget that was adopted by the School Board on Sept. 15. The 50 percent provision is only applicable until a budget is adopted.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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