Avoyelles School Board denies funding for Marksville High track repairs

Says school should seek grants before tapping district's Needs Assessment Fund

Marksville High will have to look for other funding sources to repair its track after the School Board narrowly rejected a committee recommendation to use Needs Assessment revenue for the $120,000 project.

A special study committee reported to the board Sept. 5 concerning its recommendations for addressing tracks at Avoyelles, Bunkie and Marksville high schools. The committee found it would cost $315,000 to install a track at Avoyelles High. Repairing Bunkie’s badly damaged track would cost $289,500. Marksville’s track needs repairs that would cost $120,000.

Board member Mike Lacombe said the committee looked for outside funding sources to pay for at least the repairs to Marksville High. None could be found and the committee recommended taking the money from the Needs Assessment Fund.

Board President Chris LaCour said he found “several possible outside funding sources” that would require applying for grants.

“Needs Assessment does have a positive balance that can be used at the schools, but I can’t see using this funding until we check out all of the possible grants,” he added.

The Needs Assessment Fund has a balance of $276,000. Dipping into that fund to make the MHS track repairs would reduce it to $151,000. Lacombe said it is embarrassing that the parish’s three track-playing high schools have to go to Rapides Parish to hold or attend track meets.

If just one track could be repaired to competition standards, all three could use the track for their meets, Lacombe added.

Board member Lizzie Ned said the schools need to benefit from the Needs Assessment Fund.

“Avoyelles High got a large modular building with Needs Assessment funds when Bunkie was promised to get a track then,” Ned noted. “Bunkie never got the track.”

LaCour added just before the vote that it “would be an injustice to the school system” to use the Needs Assessment funds for a track.

Voting to use the Needs Assessment funds were Freeman Ford, John Gagnard and Mike Lacombe. Voting no were Lizzie Ned, Darrell Wiley, Van Kojis and Chris LaCour. James Gauthier abstained and Shelia Blackman-Dupas was absent.

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