It’s shaping up to be a stealth tax renewal proposal.
On Saturday May 4 Caddo voters can renew or defeat a school board millage.
The only thing heard from the Caddo Parish School Board (CPSB) is crickets.
And there is a good reason for the almost deafening silence.
It’s the same reason that the tax renewal is a special election. It could have been on the fall general election ballot.
The CPSB only hopes that its 6000 plus employees vote on Saturday. Along with their families and perhaps retired school teachers and staff.
Yes, it will cost the CPSB substantially more money for the special election.
When on a general election day, election costs are split with the various government entities. The fall ballot has the 12 Caddo Commission seats, Caddo Sheriff, and state-wide elections.
The renewal is to generate $88 million dollars.
The ballot proposal does not enumerate how the funds are to be spent.
The school board says it is to replace aging and deteriorating A/C and heating systems, provide air-conditioned school buses and bolster security.
The school board touts that this is a continuation of a tax. And no increase in taxes.
Conveniently, there is no mention that almost all property values have increased since the 2004 passage of this tax. And in all likelihood values will increase in the 20 year life of the millage.
If passed, the millage will remain the same, but the tax amount will increase if properties are re-appraised at higher values.
There are approximately 40,000 CPSB students. The current budget is $429 million. That equates to over $12,000 per student for the school year.
With no public debate on the renewal , key questions have not been posed to school board administrators like:
a. The number of Caddo students have declined for several years. What is the expected enrollment to be during the 20 year life of the proposed renewal?
b. Why haven’t more schools been closed due to declining enrollment?
c. Is the average cost per student almost equal to local private schools?
d. Is it true that over $200,000 has yet to be recovered from the email phishing scheme in January?
e. Has the $26 thousand plus illegally taken by a former employee been recovered?
f. Why does Caddo still have a large number of schools with “D” and “F” grades?
Somewhere along the line the CPSB needs accountability. Full disclosure this has not been the case with this proposed tax renewal.