New Orleans voters on Saturday approved the renewal of a trio of property taxes that provide nearly $40 million annually for local public schools.
Voters cast ballots on three separate renewals, each extending an existing property tax by 10 years. The tax will take effect in 2019.
Of the three, Proposition C, which dedicated money to employee salaries, benefits and incentives, was the biggest. It accounted for 7.27 mills, or $26.6 million a year.
With all precincts reporting, 65 percent of voters supported Proposition C.
Proposition A, a renewal of 1.55 mills, will provide $5.7 million a year for books, materials and supplies. It drew support from 69 percent of voters.
Proposition B, also at 1.55 mills or $5.7 million, will pay for initiatives aimed at improving discipline and cutting the dropout rate. Sixty-six percent of voters said "yes" to renewing that part of the tax.
The annual cost of approving all three renewals will be roughly $233 a year for taxpayers with a homestead-exempt property worth $300,000.
New Orleans voters will decide Oct. 14 whether to renew a trio of property taxes that provid…
It will be $441 for a property worth $500,000 and $648 for a home worth $700,000.
All three millages together bring in about $850 per student per year. According to Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr., the Orleans Parish School Board superintendent, that amount equates to roughly 7 percent to 8 percent of a typical school's budget.
The money is distributed among the city's public schools on a per-student basis, regardless of whether they are governed by the School Board or the state-run Recovery School District.
Right now, the city has 83 public schools divided between the RSD and the OPSB. All but six are charters.
Next year, all schools are scheduled to come back under OPSB's jurisdiction.
Prior to the election, Lewis said the millages are a "crucial funding stream" for public schools. Overall, they represent about 7 percent of the money that goes to public education in New Orleans each year from all local, state and federal sources, according to the Orleans Parish School Board.
Had the millage not been renewed, a school of 600 students, for example, would have lost roughly $500,000 out of its operating budget, officials said.
"It is reasonable to think schools would need to cut teachers, reading interventionists and other kinds of support staff," Adam Hawf, an assistant superintendent, said prior to the vote.