Central voters agree to extend tax for major school improvements

Voters in Central on Saturday approved a school proposition to allow the district to borrow $13.1 million and repay the bonds by extending an existing property tax for five years, according to final but unofficial results from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.

The measure passed with 59 percent of the vote.

The funds will be used to build a ninth-grade academy at Central High and for other improvements.

“We are very thankful. Our parents and staff worked hard, made the calls and got the word out,” Central Superintendent Michael Faulk said Saturday night.

The district will be able to spend about $5.8 million on a new two-story academy, with 14 classrooms, four science labs and two technology labs for 480 students.

The proposal is to maintain the current 23.65 mills in property taxes, passed in 2009, that fund school construction, Faulk said.

Passage of the ballot issue extends the tax for five years so the school system can sell more bonds to fund the new construction needs.

The ninth-grade academy is only one part of the $8.1 million planned in improvements to Central High School.

The rest of the money will be used to repair and extend the school parking lot, which is damaged by potholes. The money also will fund extended lighting at the parking lot for students who participate in extracurricular activities, lighting for the school’s baseball and softball fields, and upgrades to district technology by improving and adding bandwidth and capacity as well as computer hardware and software, Faulk said.