DONALDSONVILLE — Sales tax revenues for the Ascension Parish School System in December were a healthy $6.3 million, 11 percent higher than budgeted, but that level of sales tax income won’t be there forever.
Diane Allison, director of business services for the school system, said at the parish School Board meeting on Tuesday that, with the $2.1 billion CF Industries expansion expected to be completed this year, sales tax revenues for the 2016-17 budget year, which begins in July, will be significantly less.
“In the old days, you had more money from retail than from (industrial) plants,” Allison said.
In 2015, however, sales tax revenues from plant expansions, related business and industrial suppliers and contractors made up 53 percent of revenue for the school system, with retail sales tax revenue providing 38 percent, Allison said.
Vehicle sales made up the remaining 9 percent.
With the massive CF Industries expansion due to be completed this year, Allison anticipates sales tax revenues from retail sales will again make up the largest portion of the school district’s tax income.
She said the School Board has made good use of the healthy sales tax revenues, pointing to the construction, now in the early stages, of free-standing Freshman Academy buildings for the ninth-graders at three high schools in the district.
“That’s the best thing to do with one-time monies,” Allison said.
At its next meeting on Feb. 2, the School Board will consider purchasing close to an acre adjacent to Dutchtown Primary to relieve overcrowding at the school with the addition of a new classroom building with 14 classrooms.
Dutchtown Primary, built in 1990, has the largest concentration of temporary buildings, close to 20, in the school district, said Jackie Tisdell, the district’s public information officer.
The property the School Board is looking at is a portion of a tract at the corner of La. 73 and La. 74.
The price of the property, at approximately $450,000, is below the appraised value, said Chad Lynch, the district’s planning and construction director.
The property would allow the majority of the temporary buildings to be removed from the campus and also provide additional space for a playground and parking, Lynch said.
Before the property became available, the school district was looking at paying about the same amount of money to relocate the T-buildings at another spot on campus while construction of the new building is underway.