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Franklin Parish School Board set millage rates and approved a funding increase for the federally-funded Head Start program during the regular meeting held May 3.

School Supt. John Gullatt also reported that Chris Roberts has been promoted to the position of child welfare and attendance supervisor.

The meeting last week was highlighted by the recognition of the Franklin Parish Lady Patriots girls softball team which had just returned from LHSAA state championship playoffs in Sulfur.

Regarding millage rates, School Board members agreed to rates which are unchanged. A total millage rate of 24.83 was approved which includes 4.540 for Aid to Education; 4.62, Constitutional; and 15.67 for Renovation and Operation.

Additionally, School Board members approved a funding increase for the Head Start program related to a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in the amount of $25,797, with employees to receive an increase in salaries in the amount of 2.28 percent. 

The quality improvement supplemental increase in the amount of $10,000 will be used for wages and benefits. A $600 retention incentive will be given as part of efforts to keep qualified employees. 

The Head Start program is federally funded, but the board’s approval was needed as part of the grant application process.

During the financial report, Business Manager Rebecca Boquet noted that revenues over expenses were a bit behind where they were as of April this time last year, with May, June and July salaries still to come out, but also noted that additional revenue is expected.

Boquet noted that budgeting is done with no profit, no loss. She said there might be a slight excess, but there could be a negative. Boquet also said her department was still compiling numbers.

“All in all, I think we are better off than a lot of districts, especially small districts,” Boquet said.

“We have a healthy fund balance. You can’t spend all of that, but we can make adjustments,” she said.

Commenting on the Sales Tax Fund, Boquet noted figures show an increase.

“As you can see our collections are up and that’s expected because prices are up,” Boquet said.

She also noted collections are better, with not as many bad debts as in previous years.

The meeting’s special guests, Coach Kayla Shirley-Johnson and members of the Franklin Parish High School girls softball team, were presented a plaque from the School Board acknowledging their achievement in advancing to the LHSAA state playoffs. 

The team was the first squad from FPHS to make it to the championship. The Lady Patriots fell to No. 1 ranked North Desoto.

Referring to Franklin Parish’s rich softball history, including teams from Ward III, Crowville, and Wisner which won a championship, Johnson said, “We’ve been trying to build that back ever since we moved up to 4-A, and it’s been a battle, but we’ve been diligently working at it and these girls worked so hard. We’re just so excited and grateful for all the opportunities and for everything that we have been able to do and look forward to just keep on working.”

“Our spring sports in general have done well,” Gullatt noted, mentioning also accomplishments of the tennis teams and men’s and women’s track teams, with members of the track team scheduled to go to Baton Rouge last week to compete in a state event.

Ashlyn Rodgers won the LHSAA Class 4A women’s javelin state championship and became the first female student at Franklin Parish High School to be a state track champ.

See the full story about Rodgers in sports section.

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