- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

MONROE, La. (AP) - Money generated by the continuation of an existing property tax on the east side of Ouachita Parish would focus on building a middle school and increasing safety at existing schools.

Superintendent Bob Webber told The News-Star (http://tnsne.ws/1fncKWC ) on Wednesday about the property tax proposal on the May 3 ballot for voters in the eastern part of the school district.

The tax is expected to generate more than $28 million. Of that, $16 to $17 million would be spent to build a new middle school in the Swartz area.

Webber said he believes the large number of students attending Ouachita Junior High is a concern to parents and has caused some students to relocate.

The school’s population, which is nearly 1,000 students, dropped by 100 students for the current school year.

“It’s simply too large,” Webber said. He also believes another issue with the school is that it was built as a high school and doesn’t provide adequate separation between students ranging from 11 years old in sixth grade to 16 years old in the eighth grade.

If the tax is approved, Ouachita Junior High would serve the students attending Jack Hayes Elementary and those who live south of U.S. 80 - reducing its population to about 400 students. The new middle school would have about 600 students.

Other money generated by the tax would go to fulfill requests by principals of all of the schools on the east side, except Richwood Middle School. Richwood is one of the district’s newest schools.

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Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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