The search for a new Franklin Parish school superintendent has begun.

Superintendent Lanny Johnson announced this week he will retire in January.

School Board members agreed Monday night to start the advertising process to select Johnson’s successor.

Johnson began his tenure as superintendent with the Franklin Parish School system in May 2004 when it was in dire financial straits. During his tenure, he led efforts to to right the situation, a fact School Board members recognized.

“In my seven years, we have never had a bad audit, and we have never had anything as a financial negative,” said Richard Kelly, School Board president. “He has kept Franklin Parish above the financial fray. I commend him on his financial plan, and the people he has hired to do this. I appreciate that.”

The School Board will begin advertising for the position this month and has set Nov. 15 as the deadline for receiving applications. After receiving applications, School Board members will hold a special meeting Nov. 19 to determine the qualified candidates to interview.

Interviews are scheduled Nov. 21 and 22 with the election of a superintendent Dec. 2.

The new superintendent must have a Louisiana certification, copy of the applicant’s teaching certification with superintendent enforcement or letter from the Louisiana Department of Education or Educational Leadership Certificate Level 3 and five years of successful leadership experience, according to the vacancy notice.

Meanwhile, Franklin Parish school enrollment is down 40 students even though some 200 new students have enrolled this year, Johnson said.

“I feel good about this year’s enrollment,” Johnson said. “We continue to register students. It still boggles my mind how we can register (200) and be 40 down.”

Johnson and School Board members are keeping a close eye on student count because a large portion of school funding comes from the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP). Under MFP, Louisiana Department of Education annually adopts a formula heavily based on student enrollment to allocate funding for education to school districts. Funding through this program is provided to school districts as a block grant.

Franklin Parish school system budgeted $20,063,486 in MFP funds, according to its 2019 budget.

“Each student is worth about $4,000 (in MFP funds),” Johnson said.

On another front, School Board members gave Johnson permission to begin advertising for a new Franklin Parish High School track.

“We will have a bonafide track and will be able to hold track meets at the school,” Johnson said.

If a bid is approved, start date will be “around Christmas,” he said.

In related a topic, Winnsboro Elementary and Fort Necessity School renovations are approaching completion.

“We’re very close,” Johnson said. “We still have the high school gymnasium and band room and some concrete work to go out in front of the welding shop. The track is the last thing.”

Winnsboro Elementary received new gym air conditioning, new gym floor and roof.

Fort Necessity received new gym air conditioning, dressing room renovations, installation of vinyl siding to the gym and parking lot asphalt.

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