L IVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish Council is throwing its weight behind a pair of bond propositions on the April 9 ballot for school improvements in Albany and Springfield.
The council unanimously approved a resolution in support of the bond initiatives for School District No. 24, in Albany, and School District No. 27A, in Springfield, during the council’s March 24 meeting.
Councilman Shane Mack said he knows the Albany proposal, which seeks approval for $13.4 million in bonds to build a new elementary school and make improvements on other campuses, presents a tough decision for voters in his district.
The bonds would run for 20 years, backed by a property tax that would start at 43.5 mills in the first year and decrease as the bonds are paid off.
School Board member Sid Kinchen, who represents the Albany area, has said a new elementary school is necessary to relieve cramped conditions at the existing school campuses.
The new school, expected to cost $6 million to $7 million, would be built on 13 acres on La. 43 about 1½ miles north of the town and would take in about 600 students in prekindergarten through second grade. Kinchen previously speculated that the school could be ready as early as fall 2018.
The rest of the bond money would be used to build a new gym at the middle school, a new library at the upper elementary and additional classrooms at the high school.
“I’m in support because I believe we need to fund the school system and provide some good schools good buildings,” Mack said.
Councilman Tab Lobell asked the council to support a similar proposition for Springfield, where voters will be asked to approve $14.25 million in bonds for the construction of a new high school.
The bonds would run for 20 years, backed by a property tax that would add 36.25 mills to property owners’ bills in the first year and decrease over time.
The Springfield project also comes in response to overcrowding, school officials have said. The proposed site has room for about 600 students, double the current size of the student body to accommodate growth.
Preliminary plans for the site south of La. 42 at George Settlement Road show a horseshoe-shaped academic and administrative building surrounding a central courtyard, with a gym, music building, cafeteria and agriculture building to the south.
Architects included space for a new football field, though school officials have said the team likely would use the existing field for a while.
Councilman Garry Talbert, of Watson, said school improvements are a benefit to the whole community.
“One thing driving growth for this parish is education,” Talbert said. “Anything we can do to support education, we as councilmen should take the time to support the institution.”
Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen, and call her at (225) 336-6981.