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The number of bus drivers in Livingston Parish has dwindled in recent years, straining the school system's efforts to get roughly 20,000 kids to school on time, and bring them home safely each afternoon.

Voters in large portions of Livingston Parish will consider whether to provide additional tax revenue for schools and fire protection.

Anyone who shops in the northeastern corner of the parish would pay an extra half-cent sales tax if a proposal to benefit Albany-area schools passes, and those in the fast-growing northwestern and west-central areas would see their property taxes go up to aid firefighters.

In East Baton Rouge, voters in the southern part of the parish will select a new judge for the 19th Judicial District court.

Early voting begins Saturday and ends April 23 for the April 30 Louisiana municipal general election. There is no early voting on Sunday.

The half-cent sales tax in northeastern Livingston Parish would raise about $300,000 annually for local school construction projects. The Albany School complex is building a new track and field facility and an elementary school cafeteria.

For families that spend $200 a week on groceries, the tax would cost them another $1.

In the parish's Fire Protection District No. 4, voters will consider whether to add 15 mills to their property tax and raise about $3.9 million annually over the next 20 years. A current 10-year levy raises $2.6 million a year.

Fire Chief James Wascom said that while the region's population has doubled over the past decade, and tripled since the 1970s, the millage rate hasn't gone up since 1975.

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The additional revenue would allow the district to hire more personnel, improve training, buy more vehicles and equipment and expand facilities.

The millage increase would equate to $150 for properties with an assessed value of $100,000 after accounting for a homestead exemption, officials said.

A former LSU baseball player and a federal prosecutor face each other in a special-election runoff for a judgeship in the 19th Judicial District. Jordan Faircloth picked up 37% of the vote in the March 26 primary while Brad Myers received 32 percent. Both are Republicans.

The winner will replace William Morvant, who retired from a term in Division E that expires at the end of 2026.

Faircloth, 40, has practiced law in Baton Rouge since 2008, handling liability claims, insurance and contractual disputes, personal injury defense, collection matters and construction disputes.

Myers, 65, has been a lawyer since 1982. He was an assistant U.S. attorney in Baton Rouge from 1983 to 1987 before joining the Kean Miller law firm in 1987. He was a partner in the firm for 31 years before transitioning to a senior counsel position to run for judge. He continues to serve as general counsel for the Louisiana Municipal Association.

Faircloth said the area's skyrocketing violent crime motivated him to run for the vacant seat. Myers said he was concerned that Morvant's departure, and that of others, cost the region valuable judicial experience.

In Hammond, a city court election features Republican Britain Sledge and Democrat Erica D. Williams.

Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at jderobertis@theadvocate.com