ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish School Board on Tuesday set a special election for April 4 to ask voters to renew a pair of taxes to support parish schools.
One proposition asks voters to renew a half-cent sales tax for 10 years for general school operations and specifically for continuing programs to provide laptop computers to high school students and provide a foreign language program for elementary and middle school students.
The half-cent tax is expected to generate about $1.35 million annually.
The other proposition asks voters to renew a 3.75-mill property tax for 10 years, beginning in 2022 and continuing through 2031.
The tax, which is expected to generate $1.44 million annually, is earmarked for supplementing salaries by $3,000 a year to employees with instructional certificates and $2,000 annually to employees who do not have the certificates.
Superintendent Hollis Milton said the sales tax contributes funds for technology other than laptop computers, including security devices to keep students safe in their schools.
In another matter, the board heard a presentation on cyber security insurance from John Caro, of Brown & Brown Insurance.
Caro offered plans to provide $2 million in coverage for responding to hackers' intrusions into the school system's computer systems at an annual premium of $9,700, or $3 million for $11,000.
The plans also offer a method to lower the amount of the insurance deductible by instituting some additional computer safeguards, Caro said.
The school system has $1 million in coverage through another insurance plan, but Caro said some 30 school systems share in a $5 million pot through the same policies. If a system breach occurred late in the school year, he said, West Feliciana might not be eligible to receive any funds if other systems exhaust the $5 million fund first.
Some eight school systems in the state were hit in August by hackers who installed malware in the computer systems that tried, with some success, to hold the school districts' data for ransom. The incidents prompted Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency to obtain funds to fight the intrusions and fund efforts by a state cyber security team to assist the districts.
Caro said his plan works with a San Francisco firm of "white hat hackers" that offers assistance in combatting such computer attacks.
The board said it will vote on the insurance package next month.