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Jefferson Parish School Board member Marion Bonura of District VIII explains he will not be voting for a change in school attendance zoning during the public hearing for a controversial redistricting plan at the Jefferson Parish School System in Harvey, La., Thursday January 19, 2017.

Advocate staff photo by SOPHIA GERMER

The Jefferson Parish School Board voted Wednesday to hire the public relations firm of Leblanc and Schuster to help educate voters about the 8.45-mill tax to fund teacher and employee raises that will go before voters Nov. 18. 

The vote came after five different firms, all of whom had submitted packets in response to a request for qualifications, were allowed to make brief presentations before the board at a special meeting.

When it was over, four members voted for Leblanc and Schuster, which was enough for a majority given that two members of the nine-member board were absent. The no-votes were Melinda Doucet, Marion Bonura and Tiffany Kuhn. Mark Morgan and Sandy Denapolis-Bosarge were absent.

At the board's Sept. 12 meeting, Board Member Cedric Floyd tried to award a contract to Leblanc and Schuster for this same work, but was thwarted by other board members, who wanted to give other firms the chance to compete for the $75,000 contact.

Wednesday's presentations included vows to use social media, video content, yard signs and targeted mailings to get the board's message out to voters ahead of the Nov. 18 election. By law, the school system is not allowed to advocate for a yes vote, but can provide information to the voters about how the millage would be used.

The millage will fund raises for all school system employees. The school board currently collects 22.91 mills in property taxes, of which nine mills is dedicated to teacher pay.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.