LPSS will add half-cent sales tax on ballot to fund facility upgrades

Chief Administrative Officer Joe Craig said the proposed sales tax would get rid of 60 percent of temporary buildings.

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – After months of negotiations, the Lafayette Parish School Board unanimously voted to put a half-cent sales tax to public vote to update their aging facilities.

Chief Administrative Officer Joe Craig said the proposed sales tax would get rid of 60 percent of temporary buildings. Specifically, the proposal would get rid of 248 out of about 450 temporary classrooms districtwide. The estimated cost to do so is $194.5 million dollars.

By adding a half-cent sales tax to the April ballot, School Board Member Jeremy Hidalgo said the board hopes to use that money to replace temporary classrooms with actual buildings across the district.

“This is an issue, it’s something we’ve been dealing with for many years. We’ve rented, we’ve purchased butler buildings. I know I don’t want my children learning in butler buildings,” Hidalgo said.

The current sales tax in Lafayette, Carencro, Duson and Scott is nine percent. In Broussard, the sales tax is 9.5 percent. The sales tax in Youngsville is at 10.5 percent.

The school board’s proposed plan lists 12 schools who would receive the funds from the sale tax revenue. Craig said these schools need upgrades the most.

“We’ve kind of ranked the projects based on the condition of the facility. In particular Carencro Heights. But then on the number of portable buildings on the campus,” Craig said.

According to Craig, the plan is to first completely rebuild Prairie Elementary at a new site and rebuild Carencro Heights at the current site.

Other schools to get upgrades would be Lafayette High, Evangeline Elementary, Broadmoor Elementary, Boucher Elementary, Plantation Elementary, Ridge Elementary, Woodvale Elementary, Duson Elementary, L. Leo Judice Elementary and Ossun Elementary.

“There’s need across the district, across the parish. Everyone deserves a lot, but everyone gets a little something,” Hidalgo said.

“Can you teach in a portable building? Yes, you can. Is there air conditioner loud? Is there no covered walkway? It’s a problem,” Craig said.

If voted on by the public in April, the sales tax would last for ten years. District officials said after that they would vote on another way to get rid of the remaining temporary classrooms in the parish.

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