GONZALES — The Ascension Parish School Board outlined a plan Tuesday night that it hopes will result in renewals of taxes dedicated for salaries, facilities and technology.
The board decided to place all three 10-year property tax renewals — which generate a total of 33 mills — on the May 4 ballot. Board members and district officials debated over either that date or April 6, but because of the Easter holiday and testing dates, decided May 4 would work best.
A 21-mill tax for salaries and 4-mill tax dedicated to facilities passed with 85 percent of the vote in April 2004. Those taxes expire on Dec. 31, 2014. The 8-mill technology tax passed with 72 percent of the vote in October 2005. The tax expires on Dec. 31, 2015.
“It’s a lot of millage and three different propositions, so it’s a very important election,” Superintendent Patrice Pujol said.
Board member Troy Gautreau and Director of Planning and Construction Chad Lynch said having the renewal election so early would give the district some flexibility in case one or more of the taxes are voted down by parish residents.
Pujol said she, board members and other district officials would work to make sure that didn’t happen, though she understood it’s a possibility.
“I never, never underestimate how easy it is for the public not to pass a tax,” she said.
The School Board’s Strategic Planning Committee also discussed ways to generate new revenue — including the possibility to asking voters to pass a new tax — to help with construction costs. The district has plans to construct new freshman academies at the high schools and also needs to build three new primary schools, Gautreau said.
District officials will be watching closely the results of a parishwide road tax on next month’s ballot as well as the school district’s renewals to see if parish residents will be willing to approve any new taxes, he said.
Other business items for the School Board included:
TEACHERS OF THE YEAR: The School Board also recognized the 2013 Teacher of the Year at each of the district’s 29 schools, including the districtwide winner for elementary, middle and high schools.
Pecan Grove Primary teacher Pamela Hughes, Dutchtown Middle teacher Amy Crain and Dutchtown High teacher Jennifer Lofton represented the district in the regional competition. Hughes and Crain both won the seven-parish regional Teacher of the Year award and advanced to the state competition.