West Baton Rouge School Board Superintendent David Corona said Monday afternoon that an parish residents will get the opportunity to renew a 15 mil property tax for the school system.
The tax, which, if renewed, will generate about $5.8 million per year for a 10-year period, which is used for operating expenses, including salaries, according to Corona.
“Obviously, renewal of this tax is important to our overall well-being as a school system,” he said. “I ask the voters to please give positive consideration to this renewal.”
The West Baton Rouge school system was recently upgraded to a “B” school district, improving from the “C” grade through the last several years.
“Our academic performance has gone straight up. It has improved every year,” Corona boasted.
He said that the $5.8 million is a very important issue to the schools, as they would not be able to perform many services without it.
“In terms of if it would not pass overall, it would require drastic cuts to our budget. Anytime you have to do without $5.8 million, it would be drastic,” said Corona. “That would require a lot of thought and a lot of detail. It would basically put us very much behind the 8-ball. We would be on the verge of not even providing the basic services.”
Corona said that rumors have caused area residents to question if the money would be used to build new buildings in certain areas of the parish, and not be distributed evenly throughout all parish schools.
He dispelled those rumors, saying that the money will go toward continuing services that are already being provided.
“Originally the board went to the people because they needed these dollars for general operating expenses in order to provide services to our people, to our children. That’s simply what this is,” he said. “This is for general operating expenses including salaries and benefits to our employees, this has nothing to do with bricks and mortar.”
The school board is currently in the process of building a new wing onto Brusly Elementary School, but Corona said that the project is being done with money the board already has, not the public’s money, which is designated for operating expenses.
“People have the opportunity to (renew the tax), and I hope they would say ‘how have they used this money over the last 10 years? What has happened over the last 10 years? Well, over the last 10 years, our academic performance has gone straight up the line,” said Corona. “As far as education in concerned in West Baton Rouge Parish, I think we have done a good job in improving the quality of education of children over the last bunches of years.
“I think we have proven that we have been good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollar and it is my hope that the taxpayers would continue with this 15-mill tax to allow us to provide those types of services.”