In The News › N.O. school millages renewed

Jul 20, 2008

Source: Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Schools, Taxation & Assessments

N.O. school millages renewed

4 proposals total $32 million annually

Sunday, July 20, 2008

By Darran Simon

New Orleans voters renewed four millages dedicated to public education on Saturday, recommitting about $32 million annually in tax money for purposes such as dropout prevention and teacher salaries.

The tax renewal was broken down into four ballot issues: about $4 million annually for textbooks and instructional supplies, $6 million for building maintenance and repairs, $18 million for teacher salaries and benefits, and $4 million for early childhood and dropout-prevention programs.

The money will be split among all types of public schools in the city: those operated by the Recovery School District and the Orleans Parish School Board, and independent charter schools.

Virtually all of the heavy hitters in local education and business circles, ranging from the teachers union to the Business Council, had voiced support for the renewals.

“This is a great day for education in New Orleans,” United Teachers of New Orleans President Larry Carter said Saturday night. “People across the city have shown that they care about our children, our schools and the future of our city.”

Tulane University President Scott Cowen and former Entergy New Orleans President Dan Packer, co-chairmen of the Public Education Progress Committee, in a statement said voters have “allowed our public schools to continue to reinvent themselves to best serve our youth.”

Though turnout was very low, the successful renewal campaign showed the city’s various school systems, which sometimes clash, can work together.

The renewal vote was the first since the governing structure of New Orleans schools changed dramatically after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When the taxes were first approved in 1988, all public schools in the city were under the auspices of the School Board. The public schools enrolled about 84,000 students at that point, compared with about 33,000 students now.

According to a report from the independent Bureau of Governmental Research, the annual cost of the renewal to the owner of a home valued at $200,000 will be $158.54. For the owner of a commercial property valued at the same level, the annual cost will be $380.70.

The bureau supported the renewals, saying that a “no” vote would “complicate the day-to-day operation of schools and threaten to undermine the reform movement.”

SCHOOL MILLAGES RENEWAL

PROPOSITION A

To renew a 1.55-mill property tax for instructional materials.

419 of 442 precincts | Votes | Pct.

Yes | 13,019 | 88

No | 1,740 | 12

PROPOSITION B

To renew a 1.55-mill property tax for dropout prevention.

419 of 442 precincts | Votes | Pct.

Yes | 12,782 | 87

No | 1,845 | 13

PROPOSITION C

To renew a 7.27 mill property tax for salaries and benefits.

419 of 442 precincts | Votes | Pct.

Yes | 12,503 | 85

No | 2,148 | 15

PROPOSITION D

To renew a 2.32-mill property tax for facility improvements.

419 of 442 precincts | Votes | Pct.

Yes | 12,633 | 87

No | 1,925 | 13

Jul 20, 2008

Source: Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Schools, Taxation & Assessments

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