In The News › ‘Yes’ on Jefferson Parish school tax renewal: Editorial

‘Yes’ on Jefferson Parish school tax renewal: Editorial

By The Editorial Board

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

November 23, 2016

The Times-Picayune editorial board makes the following recommendations for the Dec. 10 ballot. Early voting starts Saturday (Nov. 26) and concludes Dec. 3.

JEFFERSON PARISH

PUBLIC SCHOOL PROPERTY TAX RENEWAL

To renew a 4-mill property tax for technology, maintenance and capital improvements for 10 years

Yes

With the dramatic growth in technology as part of everyday life, it is essential for schools to provide up-to-date training for students. This property tax helps pay for technical support for Jefferson Parish teachers and equipment needed in a 21st century classroom. “The millage helps to pay for diverse technology purposes in the School Board’s 84 schools. These include technical support to 3,100 teachers and school administrators, as well as the maintenance of laptop computers, telecommunications, interactive classroom white boards and other equipment,” the Bureau of Governmental Research said in its analysis. None of the money from the millage would be used for central office technology.

The tax also goes toward capital projects and to maintain school system facilities. “The school system struggles to keep up with the mounting maintenance and repair needs of its aging facilities – the average school building is 52 years old. Without the millage, its capacity to address facility needs could diminish,” BGR said.

Capital projects include work to make buildings compliant for the Americans with Disabilities Act, sidewalk improvements, additional parking and emergency repairs.

The tax is split to provide 1 mill for technology, 2 mills for construction projects and 1 mill for maintenance. The system expects to take in $14.6 million from the tax in the current budget year.

There would be no change in Jefferson Parish residents’ tax bills with the renewal. A homeowner with a $200,000 house would continue to pay about $50 per year. The owner of a commercial property valued at $200,000 would pay about $112 annually.

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