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State's top school system could cut teachers

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ZACHARY - After ranking number one overall for public school districts in the state, the Zachary Community School District is now looking for new ways to bring in money.

A legislative audit shows the district spent nearly $4 million more than it made in the last school year, dipping into its fund balance to cover the gap.

School Superintendent Scott Devillier said the school spent about $1.3 million on computer upgrades to get the system ready for state testing and the rest of the money was spent on employee payroll and benefits. It's why the system is asking voters to back a one cent sales tax in March which could keep the district flush with cash and keep pink slips out of teachers' hands.

"Right now we're at a point where we need to start getting some more funding or we're going to have to start looking at some of the programs and when you start cutting programs you start cutting people," said Devillier.

Zachary still has about $12 million in the bank, but is trying to keep from spending one time dollars to cover recurring costs.

"I think that the tax is a minimal increase to ensure that the school system stays healthy, number one, and that the teachers keep their jobs," said Kim Watson, whose child attends Zachary Schools.

Devillier said the first things likely cut would be art programs, something he thinks is a crucial part of their successful curriculum.

Voters will get the chance to chose in March.

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