If voters approve a 1-cent tax proposal on the ballot March 28, the Zachary Community School Board intends to levy and collect a portion of that amount, board members said during a March 3 meeting.
The board has the authority to collect sales tax revenue on a quarter , half , three-quarter or 1-cent increments, School Board attorney Ricky McDavid said.
After lengthy discussions at recent Finance Committee meetings and workshops, district staff and board members have said they feel comfortable the revenue generated by the three-quarter cent amount would be sufficient to address anticipated budget shortfalls in the 2015-16 fiscal year.
“It’s a number we feel comfortable with,” board President Hubie Owen said.
District officials said the additional 3/4-cent tax would generate an estimated $3.37 million annually, while the full 1-cent tax would bring in $4.5 million each year.
McDavid said the board also would have the authority to change the sales tax collection amount up to four times a year.
If the proposition passes, board members would establish a procedure for regularly reviewing the tax revenue to determine whether the revenue being generated from the tax is sufficient to meet the district’s financial needs but not excessive, Owen said.
The district has held meetings answering questions and seeking community feedback regarding its finances and the sales tax proposition.
Owen said polls open at 7 a.m. March 28, and if the tax measure is authorized by voters, the board will canvass the returns and vote to levy the tax at the specified rate at the April meeting.
In other School Board news:
Michelle Clayton, director of academics, provided a testing update for Zachary schools.
Clayton said testing dates and schedules for ACT, PARCC, LEAP and iLEAP exams as well as other tests have been established.
ACT testing for grades eight through 10 began Monday and continues through Friday . Eleventh-grade students will take the ACT test Tuesday, March 17.
Phase I of PARCC tests in English language arts and math will be administered March 16-20 for third- and fourth-grade students, while phase II testing will be May 4-8.
Phase I of PARCC testing for grades five through eight began March 2 and runs through March 27. Phase II will be administered April 27 to May 22, Clayton said.
LEAP testing for fourth- and eighth-grade students, and iLEAP tests for the third-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade students will be administered April 14-15 in science and social studies.
Clayton said about 10 students have opted out of the PARCC tests, which they’re allowed to do, but doing so prevents valuable feedback and information on the child regarding his or her development.
Clayton said information on the benefits of taking the tests has been presented to parents and some have reconsidered.
“We do not want to receive zeros for the students who opt out of the tests,” Clayton said. “These are not typically zero students, but BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) will make the ultimate decision as to what to do about the points received — or not received — for these students.”
Clayton said zeros could lower school and district performance scores.