There are three tax renewals on the ballot May 4. Note: these are renewals; these are not new taxes.
Via The Bossier Press Tribune:
Proposition No. 1 is the renewal of a 10-mill property tax for a period of 10 years for the purpose of funding “salaries and benefits for employees” of the Bossier Parish school system. It would begin in 2014, end with the year 2023, and generate an estimated $9.1 million a year. Since the 2003 renewal, this millage has been periodically rolled back to the presently collected 7.54 mills.Proposition No. 2 is the renewal of a 10-mill property tax for a period of 10 years for the purpose of funding “the improvement, maintenance and operations of public school buildings” in the Parish. If approved it would begin, end and generate the same estimated funding as the Proposition No. 1 renewal. After successive rollbacks since 2003, this millage is presently 7.54 mills.Proposition No. 3 is the renewal of a 26.5-mill property tax for a period of 10 years for the purpose of “providing funds for the payment of salaries, and benefits directly related to said salaries, of teachers and other employees of the Parish School System.” If approved, this tax would begin with year 2016 and end with the year 2025, generating an estimated $24.1 million annually. This millage has been rolled back to 20.79 mills.
The schools in Bossier are the success they are because of the support of the voters. Bossier Parish voters have always supported their school system and, in fact, the schools are one of the main reasons people move to Bossier.
Last year the district's overall school performance score moved up from a "C" to a "B" with nine schools moving up one letter grade. (Full disclosure: I teach in Bossier and my school also moved up one letter grade.) Bossier schools are working hard to improve and to stay abreast of rapidly changing curriculum initiatives and technology demands. Our schools have implemented programs to increase graduation rates; we also have dual enrollment programs, senior project, robotics programs, credit recovery to aid struggling students, and last year Bossier Schools received a grant to aid students with disabilities. There are so many really good things going on in Bossier Schools that it's no wonder the parish continues to see increases in enrollment.
To continue these success stories it is critical that this tax renewal is approved by the voters. Without it, every single staff member will take a 12% pay cut.
That's bus drivers, teachers, principals, secretaries...everyone.
For a principal, that might be $10,000 or $11,000 a year. Teachers could lose anywhere from $4,000 or $5,000 per year, or more depending on their current pay and experience. A cut like that would drop our teacher pay from 26th in the state to near the bottom. Very near the bottom.
If we want to continue to keep quality teachers, administrators, and support personnel in Bossier we must vote to support them. There are nearby parishes that pay more. This renewal is not for raises; this is simply to maintain the status quo.
Additionally, with revenue cuts of 12% across the board, consider how much money the parish would lose in commerce; discretionary spending would be cut drastically.
If you're a Bossier resident, please consider voting early; encourage your family and friends to vote in support of our schools.
If you can't vote early, please turn out for the regular election on May 4.