Youngsville Mayor-Elect Ken Ritter Discusses Need For New Schools
Schools in south Lafayette Parish are being stretched beyond their capacities, and something must be done to build new schools, especially in Youngsville, Broussard, and Milton.
Youngville Mayor-Elect Ken Ritter, who joined "Nathan & Bernie in the Morning," said they "wanted to place a renewed emphasis on our need for new facilities in the southern part of the parish...It's no secret our population has been surging."
Add to that the distractions of the Lafayette Parish School Board, and Ritter said little has been done to address their needs. Expansions at Green T. Lindon are greatly appreciated, but classes will still be at capacity when those renovations are complete. Charter schools have helped, Ritter said, but the one in Youngsville is also at capacity.
"We've really got to look further down the road and figure out how can we make the growth that we're experiencing sustainable," Ritter said. "And at the top of that list in my opinion is to continue improving our education facilities in our area."
Ritter credited school system leaders for trying to think outside the box on possible ways to fund new school construction. One of those ideas calls for a joint financial partnership between the Lafayette Parish Public School System and the cities.
"I would obviously prefer to go through more traditional routes, and that is through the funding that is already provided through our property tax to fund the school system," Ritter said. "In my opinion, there's easier ways that we should go about looking at facility needs to take care of the expanding growth of our parish."
A possibility might include the school system's reserve fund and bonding it out for construction. Another includes passing a tax to fund the system at a higher level, but Ritter said trust among system officials must be restored before that could become a realistic possibility.
To listen to the full interview with Ritter, click on the 'Play' button below.