- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Lafayette Parish school system’s staff is asking the board’s finance committee to consider supporting a $120 million bond sale and property tax increases to pay for school construction and improvements.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1IBPzsv) the finance committee meets Thursday to consider recommendations on both proposals. The meeting marks the first public discussion of proposed tax initiatives since the new board took office in January.

The prior board dropped discussions of any potential new taxes following a 2011 fall defeat of a total 25-mill tax that would have paid for a $561 million bond package to build new schools, including a new Lafayette High, to make major renovations across the district and to create a fund for maintenance projects.

Of the defeated 20-year, 25-mill property tax, 2 mills was set aside for maintenance and repairs, with the remaining 23 mills for school construction and renovations. Only 31 percent of voters supported the proposal, with opponents citing distrust of the then-board and the more than half-billion price tag.

A community committee reviewed potential financing options for facilities in 2013 and suggested the board consider a combination of a sales tax and property tax for the spring 2014 ballot. However, the board never publicly took up discussions about bringing a new tax to voters based on that committee’s recommendation.

During its meeting Thursday, the finance committee will receive information about how much millage increases could generate - ranging from a 12-mill increase to generate $314 million over 20 years or $389.9 million over 30 years, to a 31.5-mill increase that would generate $825.9 million over 20 years or $969.1 million over 30 years.

The board recently voted to sell $10 million in bonds to cover the costs of new buses and for expenses related to starting the design and planning work for a new high school on school district-owned property in Youngsville.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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