- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

FARMERVILLE, La. (AP) - Union Parish Superintendent George Cannon calls May 3 the most significant day in 20 years for students in Union Parish.

That day voters will be asked to consider a property tax and a sales tax to benefit the students of Union Parish Schools and D’Arbonne Woods Charter School.

“It’s not fair that our kids who are born on the Union Parish side of the Ouachita River have access to nothing while kids born on the other side of the river have everything,” Cannon said.

For the upcoming school year, there will be three schools in the Union Parish School district - an elementary and a middle/high school and Downsville Charter School, which falls under the school board’s authority. D’Arbonne Woods, although located in Farmerville, is chartered by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

D’Arbonne Woods plans to use the $1 million that it will receive yearly from the taxes to construct additional facilities, continue to attract certified, highly qualified teachers and to enhance the school’s extracurricular facilities and programs

The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/QrgGji ) the proposed property tax will fund renovations to Union Parish schools and bring the infrastructure up to a standard that can accommodate today’s technology. The sales tax will provide for the purchase of technology for those schools.

Last year, the voters of Union Parish rejected a property tax for schools, but after a retooling of the proposal and the addition of a sales tax, voters will once again be asked to consider supporting the schools.

The new proposed taxes place a smaller burden on property owners but add a sales tax that will be shared by all. Since the failure of the tax last year, the district has reduced its budget and made plans to close two more schools to streamline its operations.

Cannon said the taxes, if passed, will be spent responsibly and transparently by the Union Parish School Board and the D’Arbonne Woods Charter School.

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

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