School Board considering 5 to 15 mill property tax for facilities
The Lafayette Parish School System is weighing options on seeking anywhere from a new 5 to 15 mill property tax to address its aging school facilities. Last night, CSRS Inc. presented its final findings after a year-long review process of parish facilities, in which it recommended the board adopt a 10-year $1.1 billion plan to construct or replace 13 schools, and renovate about a dozen others. The plan is broken into two phases. Phase one is estimated to cost $592 million to build or replace eight schools - including Northside and Lafayette High and a new career and technical high school - and renovate five others over five years. The school board will vote on whether to accept the plan, which does not obligate to any action, in two weeks.
I have a lot of confidence that the [plan] reflects what the community wants to see," school board member Mike Hefner says. "I think all of us were a little taken aback by the projected costs." He noted that $1 billion equates to about three years' worth of the school board's general budget. Generating the the almost $600 million needed for phase 1 in five years would likely require passing a 15 mill property tax. Generally speaking, a 1 mill property tax can generate approximately $10 million a year. However, Hefner added that there are several options involved, including staggering issuance of the bonds or extending the time period for which they are issued. Another option could involve using some sales tax revenue, scheduled to be freed up in a couple of years, to fund a portion of the projects.
The plan, as written, recommends projects begin to get underway Jan. 1, 2011. The next three election dates the school board could place a proposed tax on the ballot are October, November and April, 2011. The board would need to submit a ballot proposition approximately two months in advance of the election. Most observers see an October date, which would coincide with school board elections, as unlikely and that November may also be too aggressive a timeline.
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JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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