As the story goes, an old farmer wasn’t worried about locking his house, concluding that everything he owned of real value was in his fields.
“Our treasure is in what we grow,” he told a visitor.
In a broader sense, any community’s true value is in what it grows — in the young minds it cultivates for the future. That’s why we support school taxes on the April 29 ballot in East Baton Rouge and Lafayette parishes.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, voters will be asked to renew a 4.98-mill tax that generates $17.7 million a year for general operations for the parish school system and a 7.14-mill tax that generates $25.4 million annually to help pay salaries and benefits for the district’s more than 5,500 employees.
The tax proposals, both up for a 10-year renewal, will be on the ballot parishwide except in Baker, Central and Zachary, which have their own public school systems.
These aren’t new taxes for the Baton Rouge system, but renewals, and worthy of support. In Lafayette, voters are being asked to approve a half-cent, 10-year, sales tax to generate about $230 million over the next decade for an ambitious upgrade to local campuses.
Six Lafayette Parish public schools are completely full, and every other school is over capacity, according to figures distributed by One Acadiana, the regional chamber of commerce. There are 494 temporary classrooms in Lafayette public schools. Some “temporary” buildings have been in use more than 50 years. Lafayette must do better, which is why we urge a yes vote for the tax on April 29.