St. John residents decide education-related propositions - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

St. John residents decide education-related propositions Saturday

Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School in Laplace would be rebuilt if bond issue is approved. Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School in Laplace would be rebuilt if bond issue is approved.

People in St. John the Baptist Parish have three proposals to vote on this Saturday that deal with public education.

"Our kids deserve first-class facilities," said St. John Parish School Superintendent Kevin George.

Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School in Laplace has sat unused since Isaac's floodwaters caused considerable damage. St. John school leaders think it's best that the school come down.

"FEMA did not deem the school 51-percent damaged, so they're only giving us enough money to repair the school, but that's not what we want to do. We want to demolish and rebuild a new school," said Superintendent Kevin George.

Voters will be asked to give the school system permission to borrow$10 million through the issuance of bonds to build a new school on the site.

"Would not increase any taxes or any millages," said George.

East St. John High School remains only partially open. It, too, suffers lingering effects of Isaac.

'"We must get East St. John up and running, really, better than it is now, so that our children have a beautiful school to go into. It would make learning better," said Iona Holloway.

Also on the ballot Saturday is a 4.33 mill property tax renewal that generates about $2 million a year for the operation and maintenance of all school facilities.

"We want to have proper buildings and things in place for our children," said Holloway.

But Saturday's election is not just about school buildings. There is a proposition that would allow the school board to expand the use of revenues from a quarter-cent sales tax now dedicated to teacher pay.

"Right now that money goes only to teachers, $2,000 of it goes into their salary," George said.

And whatever is left over is given to teachers on top of the $2,000 they get annually from the tax. The proposition would divide the excess funds among the 500 school support workers in the public school system. The teachers union fully supports the measure.

"Every school employee will get the $2,000, but every other school employee would get something from that tax," said Holloway. "The secretary goes to school every day, she likes what she does, it's only fair, it's only fair."

George and Holloway said with no organized opposition they are hopeful that the measures will be approved.

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