ST. LANDRY PARISH, (KLFY) – St. Landry parish School Superintendent Patrick Jenkins says his parish deserves a quality education system and buildings to go with it.
He outlined a parish-wide property tax proposal Monday to the school board.
The plan would increase the current millage rate from 20 to about 44 mills.
The proposed tax (11.4 mills) would fund two and three thousand dollar pay raises for all full-time employees and support staff at about $7 million per year over 10 years.
Over 20 years, the rest of the millage (12.4) would generate about $99 million for facility improvements.
Jenkins explains he’s not approaching the proposed tax proposition with blinders-on.
He says he’s fully aware that voters want to see a plan. Jenkins says he has a plan.
“Want to ensure the people of St. Landry Parish that we’re going to be good stewards of their dollars. We’re going to be financially and fiscally responsible because that’s important to me and I know it’s important to them,” Jenkins explains.
The superintendent says the district is doing its homework. The ghosts of the past are just that.
He doubles down that the motto for St. Landry Parish Schools is “Great Expectations.”
“We want to be able to hear from the people of St. Landry parish and what are their concerns. They have important concerns that we are not aware of and we can address those concerns,” says Jenkins.
He adds that a company has been hired to assess all the school buildings in the district.
Plus, a demographer has been brought in to look at the parish in terms of growth or lack thereof.
“This is important because we don’t want to build a building in a location with low population rates,” says the superintendent.
In addition to the two components — pay raises and capital improvements — if the tax is approved, the state would pay a district more when it’s willing to invest in itself.
“Just looking at preliminary projections if this tax passes, we potentially could receive an additional $5 million from MFP dollars,” says Jenkins.
Jenkins plans to hold town hall meetings with both residents and business owners.
He says a quality education is an economic draw that attracts employers, housing development and dollars.
If the board approves putting the proposal on the ballot, it would go before voters in the Spring 2018.