In The News › Editorial: Election Recommendations

Jul 13, 2008

Source: Times-Picayune

Filed under: On the Ballot, Orleans Parish, Schools

Editorial: Election Recommendations

EDITORIAL: Election recommendations
Sunday, July 13, 2008

This newspaper makes the following recommendations for propositions on the ballot Saturday.

ORLEANS PARISH

SCHOOL PROPOSITIONS

PROPOSITION A

To renew for 10 years a 1.55 mill property tax for instructional materials

Yes

PROPOSITION B

To renew for 10 years a 1.55-mill property tax for dropout prevention services

Yes

PROPOSITION C

To renew for 10 years a 7.27-mill property tax for salaries and benefits

Yes

PROPOSITION D

To renew a 2.32-mill property tax for 20 years for facility improvements

Yes

As the Bureau of Governmental Research noted in its analysis of these propositions, now is not the ideal time to be deciding whether to renew the taxes. The chaotic nature of the post-Katrina educational landscape in New Orleans makes it difficult to do a thorough analysis of exactly how revenue is being spent and how much money will be needed long-term to educate public school students in the city.

But this is when the decision has to be made. These taxes are set to expire this year unless they are renewed, and they provide roughly $29 million for Orleans Parish, Recovery School District and charter schools. That amounts to $934 per student, which would be a difficult loss to absorb. Despite uncertainties about how many students and how many schools the city ultimately will have, the need for a strong public school system is vital to the recovery of the city. Although it is early, there have been dramatic changes in public education since Katrina and results look very positive. With a mix of charter, traditional and state-run schools, parents have a wide array of choices. The new schools aren’t uniformly good, but they are in most cases markedly better than the schools they replaced.

Over the next few years, the Recovery School District, Orleans Parish School Board and the Board of Elementary and Secondary education need to evaluate spending on city schools and ensure that taxpayers are getting a high quality and efficient education system.

But the bottom line on these millages is that it is crucial to keep the momentum of change going. Katrina provided New Orleans an opportunity to scrap its badly broken education system and start over. That process is less than three years old, but already there are signs that children are getting a better education.

JEFFERSON PARISH

TIMBERLANE ESTATES SUBDIVISION

PROPOSITION NO. 1

To annex the following area into the City of Gretna: Property bounded to the north by Belle Chasse Highway, to the east by Timberlane Drive, to the west by the Verret Canal, and to the south by Lapalco Boulevard

No

Proposition No. 2

To annex the following area into the City of Gretna: Property bounded to the north by Lapalco Boulevard, to the east by the rear lot lines of properties located on the east side of Marlene Drive, to the west by the Verret Canal, and to the south by Bayou Fatma, terminating at municipal address 820 Fairfield Avenue

No

Only residents in Timberlane Estates will be allowed to vote on these two measures. Since 2002, the subdivision has been trying to limit access to it by asking first Jefferson Parish and now Gretna for permission to gate public streets entering the community. Under the current proposal, the subdivision would install gates on Timberlane Drive, limiting access. The public could only enter through Timberlane Road, but could not exit the subdivision through Timberlane Drive at Belle Chasse Highway or Timberlane Drive at Lapalco Boulevard. Timberlane residents have argued that the gates are necessary to reduce the amount of traffic entering their neighborhood on narrow streets. Yet residents of nearby Bellemeade subdivision contend that allowing Timberlane to become a limited-access community would put the additional traffic burden on their already heavily traveled streets. The proposition should be rejected based in part on a 2002 Attorney General’s opinion that said Jefferson Parish could not gate a public street “to cause the public street to be used as a private street.” It would also unfairly place an additional traffic burden on neighboring Bellemeade. Also Mayor Ronnie Harris asks a good question: How will the city of Gretna respond to other neighborhoods demanding the same treatment as Timberlane?

Jul 13, 2008

Source: Times-Picayune

Filed under: On the Ballot, Orleans Parish, Schools

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