BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Bossier School leaders now have $50 million in an educational fund thanks to a bill passed in 1985.
Then-State Senator Foster Campbell sponsored a bill to set aside $500,000 in tax revenue from Louisiana Downs.
He then amended the bill to add state tax revenue collected from Bossier City casinos.
The Bossier Educational Excellence Fund (BEEF) has reached a total of $50 million over that 33-year span.
"No other parish, no other county, I don't think in the country besides Bossier Parish has $50 million endowed for public education," said Campbell.
The fund is designed to allow the school system to use its yearly interest to pay for classroom enhancements.
To date, the Bossier Parish School Board has issued $7 million in BEEF grants to purchase computers for students, art education, after-school tutoring and other enhancements.
"Used to be technology was an enhancement to what we were doing, and today it is truly an integral part in everything that we do. Our students use technology in almost every lesson they participate in during the school day," said Kimmie Smith, a Bossier Parish school teacher.
On Tuesday, Foster Campbell and Parish leaders held a reception at the Bossier Instructional Center on Airline Drive to celebrate the achievement.
A former schoolteacher, Campbell says this was also his way of putting the focus on education and not on the football field.
"I think we emphasize athletics too much in our state. I think we oughta have more classroom activity and a little less football basketball or baseball, and that's the way I feel so I made sure this money cant be spent on athletics."
He believes the parish's A-grade school system is having a ripple effect on the parish's economy.
"Bossier Parish is the fastest growing parish in North Louisiana.... people are moving to Bossier Parish because their kids are getting a good education."
Campbell credits former LA governor Edwin Edwards for setting aside the initial investment from Louisiana Downs and for giving the fund its name.
At the time, he says fast food chain Wendy's popularized the slogan .. where's the beef.