West Feliciana schools seek millage increase

West Feliciana Parish voters will consider a 14-mill property tax increase for the public school system when they go to the polls May 3.

Some voters are casting their ballots during early voting, which ends Saturday.

If passed, the 10-year, 14-mill property tax for the parishwide Consolidated School District 1 is expected to bring in an additional $3.8 million annually for the school system.

There are four public schools in the parish: Bains Lower Elementary, Bains Elementary, West Feliciana Middle School and West Feliciana High School, which are all in St. Francisville.

The school system has more than 2,200 students and 375 employees.

“The participation at early voting and the number of “Vote Yes” signs has been very encouraging,” Superintendent Hollis Milton said Monday.

If the property tax is approved, the money would be used to increase opportunities for high school students to take advanced placement and dual-enrollment classes as well as earn industry-based certification; develop a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum in the schools, add summer programs; and improve academic and athletic facilities, according to School Board literature.

“The response from the community has been very positive,” Milton said. “Our community supports our school system.”

The West Feliciana Parish school district is one of nine districts in the state that’s received a grade of A from the state.

The West Feliciana Parish school system now collects 35.96 mills in property taxes dedicated to education, an amount that’s lower than school systems in Zachary, Central, Baker, East Baton Rouge Parish and Ascension Parish.

The school district is seeking the additional millage because of increases in unfunded state mandates, a freeze in state education funding over the last four years and declining federal revenue, according to the School Board.

On a $200,000 home, the millage, if passed, would mean a yearly tax of $175, according to a chart on the School Board’s website, wfpsb.org.