LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – Lafayette Parish voters head to the polls in about a week and-a-half. They are to decide whether or not to approve a half cent sales tax for the Lafayette Parish School System. A news conference was held Wednesday at Lafayette High School. One Acadiana and the Diocese of Lafayette announced their support of the tax.
The school district wants voters to approve the sales tax on April 29. The tax would be in effect for 10 years and generate about $194 (m) million dollars during that time. The focus seems to be the portable buildings and doing away with those. One Lafayette Resident says it can be done without a sales tax.”
One Acadiana President and CEO Jason El Koubi says of the 30,000 students about 6,000 attend school every day in temporary buildings. “It would focus on the 12 school sites with the largest number of temporary metal building classrooms,” says Jason El Koubi
Diocese of Lafayette Bishop J Douglas Deshotel says as a bishop and citizen of the parish he supports the tax because as a center of learning a school and the quality of it is vital to society. “The old lesson of history is that any great and noble society is defined by how it cares for the children in that community,” adds Deshotel.
Michael Lunsford says he has children in school in Lafayette. Lunsford doesn’t support the tax. He’s made his position known on Facebook. Lunsford says if the portable buildings were taken away from the elementary schools alone there would still be enough inside classrooms to house them.
Lunsford adds that would just take rezoning; moving students from crowded classrooms to under capacity ones. “If you eliminate all the portable classrooms in the elementary system that they want to do with this initiative 217. You would still have room leftover for 2,500 additional students on top of what they have now,” explains Lunsford.
The school district says operational capacity has to be factor, which involves pupil teacher ratio. In essence they say piling a bunch of students in a classroom is not the solution to quality education.
Lunsford believes another problem could be the cost of staffing outside of the classroom. He says that too can be fixed without an extra tax. “If our most expensive thing we have in the school system is human resources people – well then what are all the people doing and can we make some changes and adjustments,” notes Lunsford.