LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish School Board will discuss whether to call a fall election for a property tax increase to pay for more than $560 million in school construction and repairs.
The projects have been identified as priorities in the district’s master plan for facilities, which was completed in May 2010 and identified more than $1 billion in facility fixes.
Two versions of proposed resolutions that call for an election will be presented to board members at Wednesday’s 5:30 p.m. meeting, but proposed bond issue amounts and millage rate increases won’t be presented to members until Wednesday, according to information posted online with the agenda.
A 25.65-mills increase would be needed to fund at least $600 million in bonds, according to a past presentation by the district’s master planning consultants at CSRS Inc. of Baton Rouge. Current millage rates for Lafayette Parish residents are 84.36 mills and 85.89 mills, depending upon where the resident lives.
The projected bond sale would need to fund at least $560.8 million — the estimated funding total attached to a request for proposals for a program management firm to direct the major construction initiative.
The board will also consider approval of the request for proposals from property management firms at Wednesday’s meeting.
Both issues are backed by a citizens’ oversight committee of volunteers charged with the oversight of the master plan’s implementation.
In April, voters approved the renewal of an existing millage directed to facility maintenance that generates about $8 million each year.
The potential fall bond issue would be directed toward a six-year capital improvement plan initially estimated at $592 million that includes the replacement of seven schools, additions to replace portable buildings at five schools and selective maintenance across the district.
L.J. Alleman Middle School is one of the seven schools tagged for a needed replacement, rather than more patchwork repairs and additions.
Room is in short supply at the school, where its principal Kathy Aloisio estimates nearly half of its students are in portables.
In August, Aloisio anticipates 1,030 students and more portables will be delivered before then to make more room, she said.
The school utilizes its space economically, she said, even converting a closet into office space for its nurse.
More space is needed throughout the school, including its cafeteria where four lunch seating times are held, and larger classrooms to accommodate its role as the middle school arts academy, Aloisio said.
“Adding on another wing would not help us,” Aloisio said.
The school is one of the district’s top performers and in 2009 was named a national Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
“It is what it is,” she said of the facility. “You work around it. Whatever happens within the walls is great. It’s magic.”
To see the full agenda, visit: http://esb.lpssonline.com.