A School Board sales tax renewal proposition will share the Nov. 13 ballot with four proposed constitutional amendments in West Feliciana Parish.
Early voting for the election began Saturday and will continue through Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Registrar of Voters office in the parish governmental complex, 5292 Commerce St., in St. Francisville.
Early voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 13.
The number of precinct locations for the election have been decreased in both East and West Feliciana parishes in preparation for reapportionment of local governing bodies and school boards, which may result in voters having to vote for the first time in a precinct different from the one to which they are accustomed.
West Feliciana’s precinct count was cut from 35 to 13, while East Feliciana’s was cut from 24 to 14.
For that reason, West Feliciana Registrar of Voters Cheryl Decoteau recommends voting early at her office before the 6 p.m. Nov. 6 deadline.
East Feliciana, which only has the constitutional amendments on its ballots, typically has a high percentage of its voters casting ballots early, and Registrar Bobbie Ross also recommends casting an early vote at her office, 11048 Bank St., in Clinton.
Both registrars said their offices mailed notices of the precinct changes to all voters after the East Feliciana Police Jury and West Feliciana Parish Council adopted their respective changes.
The special statewide election originally was set for Oct. 9, but state officials pushed it back to Nov. 13 because of damage caused in many parishes by Hurricane Ida.
West Feliciana Parish voters first approved the half-cent sales tax now up for renewal in a special April 2012 election in which they also renewed a 3.75-mill property tax dedicated to employee salaries.
The half-cent sales tax levy raised the School Board’s share of taxes on the local sale of goods and services to 3 %.
In 2012, the new sales tax was meant to cover operations and maintenance costs, as well “funding new state and federal mandates required to comply with law.”
At the time, the school system was involved in transitioning to the Common Core State Standards that was designed to implement new curricula standards.
At the same time, the School Board was required to come up with an extra $700,000 for state-mandated retirement fund increases.
If approved, the tax would continue for another 10 years from July 1, 2022, and bring in about $1.3 million in revenues.
Superintendent Hollis Milton said renewing the tax will allow the School Board to continue providing a high-quality education system and maintain and operate the parish schools.
The tax also allows the parish to remain in compliance with new state and federal laws while maintaining competitive salary schedules to retain and attract the best teachers, Milton said.