SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The voters have spoken this weekend, and the answer was 'no' to a $ 108 million bond issue for the Caddo Parish School System. In a race that was close through much of Saturday night, the bond issue failed with 47 percent of the vote.
The "Reinvest in Caddo" plan would have built three new schools and closed six others.
It is back to the drawing board for the Caddo Parish School Board.
"We will come in Monday morning and continue to work with those 20,000 citizens so that we can continue to do everything we can to make this the very best school district, and the 41,000 kids deserve nothing less than that," said Dr. Lamar Goree, superintendent of Caddo Schools.
Many against the bond issue did not support closing Caddo schools.
"No to tax bond, yes to students, teachers and principals. Instead of closing community schools, let's instill discipline, respect and values," Attorney John Milkovich said.
Shortly after the vote came in Saturday night, Goree explained that the school board expected the bond to pass, and that even though it did not, schools will still close.
"There is no way you can still operate in a school district that was built to educate 70,000 students and we're currently at 41,000 and not really make an aggressive address in the number of schools that you're still servicing," Goree said.
Milkovich added that the numbers just didn't make sense.
"Caddo Parish is already paying some of the highest property taxes in Louisiana. The Caddo Parish School Board already has a budget of $480 million a year," Milkovich said.
Both sides agree that the children are the priority.
"There are some needs in the school district that we'll have to find a way to address, not necessarily saying they'll be through a bond effort, but there are some things that we have to find a way to address in our school district," Goree added.
"Let's invest, make the right investment, in the right priorities, in the right way," Milkovich said.