Zachary Schools expect huge budget surplus for 2012-2013 school year

ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - While East Feliciana schools are on hard times, their neighbors to the south in Zachary are seeing an embarrassment of riches. District leaders and teachers tell 9News they have big plans for the extra money.

Nearly one $1.7 million in sales taxes, mostly from a recently expanded Georgia Pacific plant in Port Hudson, will leave the Zachary School District with more than $1 million extra to spend. But before this good news ever came to light, Superintendent Scott Devillier says he planned for the opposite.

"We had a number of projects that we put on hold this year due to not knowing the unknown. Now that we've received that money, we'll be looking to expand," said Devillier.

Part of that expansion will include new technology in the classroom and beef up programs for technical students - classes like automotive technology and construction.

"It opens up the world especially for this generation. It's important that we get those students familiar with the technology at an earlier age. The earlier we get them involved with it, the better it's going to be when they reach those upper grades," said Pre-K teacher Lettimarie Nezianya.

The district's won't be left out. Devillier says some of the surplus will pay for professional development.

"We in this district are very fortunate," said Nezianya. "We have very good people at the school board. They look out ahead of time for our well-being."

While Nezianya's students are only in Pre-K, she says any added resources she can use in her classroom will do that much more to prepare her young students for a successful future.

Superintendent Scott Devillier says they also hope to use additional money to lower the student to teacher ratio in their classrooms.

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