MONROE, La. (KNOE) The Ouachita Parish School Board's auditor presented their findings from the 2017-2018 year at their board meeting Tuesday. Auditor Amy Tynes says the board is seeing changes when it comes to their finances.
Tynes says that's because of a new nationwide financial reporting standard, which means the board has to include all their employees' healthcare costs after they retire on their books. She says previously healthcare costs were split up over 30 years, but now the cost will be completely put on the books. She says now all governmental agencies will be reporting their finances this way.
Tynes says the school board's healthcare costs are 229 million dollars, meaning their unrestricted deficit would be $425,459,984 in debt.
"If the school board had to pay everything right now that's how much we would be in the hole so to speak, but that's not how we're getting billed," says Tynes. "This isn't I guess the real day to day world, but if that should happen this is what the event would be."
Ouachita Parish Superintendent Dr. Don Coker says this value skews the amount that the board is actually in debt. "We knew that was coming, and these state regs put out there, so it's every governmental entity that's out there," says Dr. Coker.
He says the board is still able to pay their bills month to month, so they won't need to pay all of those healthcare costs up front. "And it's showing a huge astronomical number of a deficit but you know most government facilities pay month to month just like we pay our bills month to month."
Tynes says this new financial reporting standard could have effects on bond ratings over time, but overall she says no one knows what the effect could be of this new regulation.