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Committee Recommends 2014 Schools Tax To Lafayette Parish School Board

Lafayette Parish School System
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A citizen volunteer group is recommending another attempt at increasing the Lafayette Parish schools tax.

The Community Education Plan Committee, which was commissioned by the Lafayette Parish School Board, presented its recommendations tonight after meeting weekly since March of this year.

“The need for investment of significant public tax dollars in upgrades, repairs and additions to LPSS facilities is indisputable, critical to implementation of the Turnaround instructional plan and critical to the future of Lafayette Parish,” said CEPC representative Brent Henley before the board tonight.

The tax would generate $500 million for Lafayette Parish schools and is recommended for vote by May 2014.

According to the CEPC, Lafayette Parish is 33rd out of 69 Louisiana school districts in millage rates. Funds spent per pupil in Lafayette Parish are also lower than most other districts, according to the group’s findings, which ranked Lafayette as 64th. It also ranks 65th in the amount spent on administration.

Board members expressed concern about attempting another tax after similar measures have failed in the past.

Henley said previous attempts were weak because they didn’t coincide with an academic plan to be associated with a facilities plan, and not enough specifications were provided on where the money would go and to which programs.

The CEPC has a goal “to rid the district of temporary buildings and bring it to the forefront of technology,” Henley said.

Superintendent Pat Cooper, Ph.D., said he was optimistic about the proposal.

“I only think it looks grim if we don’t do our job,” Cooper said. “I believe we could get a tax passed if it’s reasonable and people understand what the money’s being used for.”

 

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