By Kate Stevens
Special to The Advocate
September 27, 2012
LUTCHER — The St. James Parish School Board has rescinded a recent decision to require any future owner of the former Vacherie Primary School site to maintain the property or risk having the property revert back to the school district.
At its meeting on Sept. 11, the School Board unanimously accepted the lone bid of $150,000 from area resident Tony Milazzo to purchase the property on the condition Milazzo would keep the grass trimmed and building maintained.
School Board member Richard Reulet Jr., who represents the Vacherie area, had requested the condition because the former school, which recently closed due to low enrollment, is in a residential neighborhood.
But during Tuesday’s School Board meeting, board member Kenneth Foret questioned the legality and potential expense of such a stipulation.
“I don’t think we need to get in the business of maintaining a property we sell,” Foret said, adding the former school site is for sale to eliminate an expense to the school district.
Superintendent Alonzo Luce said the School Board had directed him at the last meeting to sell the property with Reulet’s stipulation.
If Milazzo wanted to purchase the property, Luce would have to go forward with the sale, Luce said.
If Milazzo doesn’t want the stipulation in the contract, Luce said, he would then come back to the board for direction.
In a 5-1 vote, the School Board decided to rescind the motion that any future owner of the former Vacherie Primary School site must maintain the property or have it revert to the school district.
Board members Diana Cantillo, Carol Lambert, Charles Nailor, George Nassar and Foret voted to rescind the motion while Reulet voted against it. Patricia Schexnayder abstained from the vote.
The School Board then voted to sell the former school site without any stipulation, with members voting to approve the measure by the same 5-1 vote by which they agreed to rescind the disputed motion.
Other action taken by the board included:
MILLAGE VOTE: The School Board unanimously approved a new, rolled-back millage rate of 43.67 mills for the 2012 tax year.
Two weeks ago, the board approved a resolution to roll back its property tax from the maximum authorized rate of 45.06 mills to 43.96 mills in order to adjust for rising values.
But during Tuesday’s meeting, Jim Mitchell, parish schools administrative director of business services, said that the school district did not have the correct millage roll back rates from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office.
The net result is a decrease of 0.29 mills from the rates adopted at the previous School Board meeting, Mitchell said.