FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Â½ cent.
100% Dedicated. 248Permanent Classrooms. Lafayette Parish Schools Sales Tax Proposal For Infrastructure, Saturday, April 29, 2017. Early voting is April 15-22.
Our Lafayette Parish School System (LPSS) is proposing a ½ cent sales tax to be collected for a 10-year period to fund needed construction to replace temporary classrooms currently housed in portable metal buildings and funds for building maintenance. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Why is LPSS proposing this tax? Funds from the proposed tax will replace temporary classrooms. Lafayette schools have relied heavily on temporary metal outdoor classrooms over the past 30 years rather than expanding permanent building facilities. The decision to use temporary metal container classrooms was made solely because they are – initially – less expense than permanent construction. With school budgets stretched very thin, this decision was considered the best option at the time. Many of those temporary classrooms, to meet the needs of a growing student population, have been in service for more than 40 years.
2. How widespread is the problem? Currently there are 420 temporary classrooms across traditional LPSS campuses. Those outdoor classrooms are used by thousands of students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, every school day.
3. There were temporary classrooms when I went to school. What’s the big deal? The extent of individual school reliance on temporary classrooms has created a system-wide problem. For example, Iberia Parish has 10 temporary buildings in service compared to Lafayette Parish with 420 classrooms in temporary buildings. At some schools, the number of outdoor temporary classrooms have a larger campus footprint than permanent school classroom construction. The use of temporary classrooms creates a number of problems: •
When it rains, children moving from one temporary classroom to another, or to a restroom, may get soaked.
Because the buildings are metal, a teacher’s voice can sometimes be impossible to hear over the noise of rain hitting the metal roof.
Students are required to use mesh backpacks to expose potential safety hazards. This requirement means students going from class to class between outdoor buildings with mesh backpacks in the rain can have books, papers and projects ruined.
During weather alerts and warnings, students in temporary outdoor classrooms must be brought inside to more secure buildings until it is safe for them to return.
Maintenance of elevated temporary metal buildings is difficult and a number of temporary classrooms rest on rotting tires or bare axles where tires disintegrated over time.
1. Will this tax generate enough revenue to fix the problem? The proposed ½ cent sales tax which is dedicated will, with voter approval, be collected for 10 years. The funds generated by the tax are expected to replace approximately 60% of the temporary classrooms currently in service.
2. Why not replace them all? Funds generated by the ½ cent sales tax will not be enough to replace all 420 temporary classrooms. The proposed tax will provide sufficient funds to replace 248 temporary classrooms. The Lafayette Parish School Board feels that voters are more comfortable voting for a tax where they can see some success. The board wants to demonstrate to voters a) funds will be dedicated and spent on what LPSS says they will be spent on and b) how this strategy improves the parish school system.
3. Why a sales tax rather than a property tax? While a property tax would provide more funds than a sales tax, Lafayette Parish School Board members believe a ½ cent sales tax will have less impact on parish citizens at this important time in the local economy.
4. I am a senior citizen and have no children enrolled in public schools. My daughter and son-inlaw send their children to private school. How does this tax help me? Cities that have a better-educated population also have less crime, fewer drug problems, thriving arts and cultural communities and better economies. Lafayette Parish has great public schools. What this sales tax does is allow students to learn in an environment that does not always depend on good weather. Prospective businesses considering a relocation often look at the quality of the public school system to ensure their employees have opportunities for their children to receive the best education possible. Lafayette Parish’s continued reliance on temporary classrooms simply makes that argument harder. Ultimately, the decision to vote “yes” or “no” is up to each individual.
5. Is this a “forever” tax? No. This is a 10-year dedicated tax for infrastructure and maintenance.
6. What happens in 10 years? If it passes and voters are satisfied with the results of the 10-year 1/2 cent sales tax, school board members may choose to propose another tax that addresses eliminating temporary classrooms still on elementary, middle and high school campuses at that time.
7. Will all schools benefit from this tax, if it passes? Yes, but not immediately. New construction will free up maintenance funds that can address needs of those schools not scheduled for new construction from this tax. And some schools not included in this tax are already having some of their construction needs met through current funds.
1. Which schools will benefit from the current tax request? If approved by voters, funds will be used to build the first phase of new construction at Lafayette High, two (2) new elementary schools for Prairie and Carencro Heights and the addition of permanent construction wings at nine (9) schools. In all 248 temporary classrooms will be eliminated and replaced with permanent classrooms. Projects
Lafayette High (Phase I)
New Prairie Elementary
New Carencro Heights Elementary
L. Leo Judice Elementary
Alice Boucher Elementary
TOTAL IMPROVEMENTS Yearly Operations & Maintenance
2. How were the schools on the priority list chosen? The Lafayette Parish School Board reviewed the needs of all schools and prioritized those with the greatest needs, also taking into consideration some improvements already being made and other improvements that are being planned through normal operations.
3. What happens if the ½ cent sales tax does not pass? Without funds to construct new school facilities and add permanent wings to existing schools, students will continue to receive instruction in those temporary classrooms.
4. Are there any purchases exempted from the ½ cent sales tax? No tax will be collected on purchases of food or drugs. For more information contact Dr. Donald Aguillard (Superintendent) 337-521-7014.
PAID FOR BY THE LAFAYETTE PARISH SCHOOL SYSTEM.
CARENCRO HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY
BROADMOOR ELEMENTARY ALICE BOUCHER ELEMENTARY
LAFAYETTE HIGH RIDGE ELEMENTARY
L. LEO JUDICE ELEMENTARY