Lafayette Parish school board narrows sales tax options

Shoppers buy items at Costco in Lafayette in March 2016. The Lafayette Parish School Board is considering a possible new sales tax to generate money for facilities. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/THE ADVERTISER)

The Lafayette Parish School Board directed district officials to focus on 10- and 15-year sales tax options for a possible public vote.

On Wednesday, the board eliminated tax options with 30- or 35-year terms.

Officials say the system needs a new tax to replace the hundreds of temporary classrooms in Lafayette Parish. The temporary facilities have been added over time as student populations increase and outgrow original school construction.

Early last week, the board considered a property tax proposal, but scrapped that two days later in favor of sales tax options.

Superintendent Donald Aguillard said a 10-year, half-cent sales tax could generate $194 million.

That could allow the district to replace 251 temporary classrooms with permanent structures, Aguillard said.

Schools with many such classrooms include Evangeline, Ridge, Alice Boucher, Plantation, Broadmoor, Woodvale, Duson and L. Leo Judice.

It could also pay for replacements of Carencro Heights Elementary, at an estimated cost of $32 million, and Prairie Elementary, which would cost about $34 million.

Another item on the preliminary list is a $45 million standalone building at Lafayette High.

However, Aguillard said he is “less certain” that a building would cost that much. The figure is based on the amount Ascension Parish has paid for multilevel “freshman academies” on its high school campuses.

The projects also would include security upgrades, plus renovations and expansions of cafeterias, libraries and administrative areas.

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