Email to parents from Bossier Parish Schools regarding bond issue:
"WHY VOTE THIS SATURDAY?
Ask people in Bossier what makes our parish great and most will list the school system at or near the top. The mission of Bossier Schools is to make sure every child is given the best education and opportunity to excel. All 21,242 of them.
We are proud our school system is nationally accredited, one of the few around that is. Yet we do not rest on our laurels. Not a day goes by that we do not strive to be better and seek ways to best serve your children and offer them more opportunities to advance.
This Saturday, April 21, you and the voters of Bossier Parish will be faced with making three decisions critical to your children's future – to make Bossier Schools more conducive for learning, further strengthen our team of educators, and give your children the tools needed so they have a competitive edge both in school and later in life.
School District Bond
Bossier Schools are experiencing a growth spurt, resulting in record enrollment and over-crowded schools. All indications are this trend will only continue. To accommodate the growing number of students, we must build a new elementary school in North Bossier, a middle school in Haughton, a high school in Benton, and add classroom wings to several of our existing schools. Others are in need of renovations that include electrical work, paving and drainage.
We also have the opportunity to locate Bossier Technical School in Bossier, so our students no longer have to cross the river to Shreveport to attend classes on the campus of Louisiana Technical College. We are out of room at the current facility and the number of students wanting to take courses overshadows the space available. Plans call for building an innovative career and technical education facility that would offer students an expansion of programs and career opportunities in oil and gas, TV/Filmmaking, health sciences, welding and many other fields of study. This benefits our business community as well, offering them a better educated, more highly skilled and technologically relevant workforce.
This is all possible at no increased cost to taxpayers. The parish-wide construction bond proposition on the April 21 ballot would simply enable Bossier Schools to restructure and reallocate the current 13.55 millage to sell bonds to fund these improvements and meet our growth and renovation needs.
Proposition No. 1
We are fortunate to have some of the highest caliber teachers in our classrooms and staff in our school system. There is no question the effect educators have on our children. Think of your own favorite teachers who had a special impact on your life.
Yet teachers in the Bossier School system are paid the least compared to our four neighboring parishes. It is the same for those with 15 years' experience or a Master's degree. We have lost quality educators to other school districts because of this disparity in compensation. Proposition 1 seeks to remedy that by offering more competitive pay to both retain and attain highly effective teachers. The 9.25 mills would cost the average homeowner roughly seven dollars a month.
Proposition No. 2
Technology has changed society as we know it. It is at the forefront of everything we do and a core part of today's classroom curriculum. Yet Bossier Schools' technology department has no recurring source of funding dedicated for technology. To bring our school system up to speed – and equip students with the technological tools needed to succeed and compete – Proposition 2 seeks a 3.6 millage rate. It will cost the average homeowner about three dollars a month and enable Bossier Schools to install a high-speed, fiber-based network throughout the district. That, in turn, would support the connections needed as we increase the number and usage of wireless devices – such as iPads, Kindles or other tablet computers -- in students' hands. The technology initiative would also pay for educational software, two-way paging systems between school classrooms and administrative offices, and camera surveillance for schools and facilities.
The Bossier School Board would not be asking for these two new tax initiatives if it did not feel they were not mission critical for our school system to continue to progress. Are new schools, renovations to existing schools, more advanced technology and highly effective educators in your child's classroom worth the cost of two fast-food meals a month? That is how much Propositions 1 and 2 combined will cost the average homeowner -- $10 a month. For businesses with a half-million dollars in taxable assets, $80 a month.