Maintenance tax renewals, bond issue on Dec. 11 ballot for some Rapides Parish schools

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 6:32 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2021 at 6:58 PM CST
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - There are several measures on the ballot on Dec. 11 that will impact some Rapides Parish schools, especially whether or not they will see any improvements to facilities.

There are maintenance tax renewals on the ballot for three schools: Glenmora High School, Oak Hill High School and Forest Hill Jr. High.

Maintenance taxes pay for repairs and upkeep, as well as purchasing technology and classroom furniture when necessary. The mil rates are not new, and this is not a proposal seeking to increase your current tax rate. A vote “yes” on the ballot on Dec. 11 will be a vote to renew the maintenance tax already in place.

The next item on the ballot is a bond issue vote. Bond issues are funded through property taxes, and they can only go into effect if taxpayers vote to approve them.

For voters in District 57, there is a bond issue vote for Carter C. Raymond Jr. High and Caroline Dormon Jr. High.

According to the Rapides Parish School Board, there have been no facility improvements to Carter C. Raymond Jr. High in more than 20 years. At Caroline Dorman Jr. High, the current student population far exceeds the school capacity. What was built for about 250 students initially, now holds more than 400. One-third of the student body operates out of portable buildings behind the school. If approved, the bond issue would help fund construction for additional classrooms and parking to accommodate the growth.

“We’re gonna continue to grow, especially in the Woodworth area,” explained David Butler, mayor of Woodworth. “There are 14 new homes under construction out there now. From the 2010 census to the 2020 census, Woodworth had a 60.8% population increase in the Woodworth area, one of the only towns in Central Louisiana that had a population increase. So, it’s going to continue to grow.”

The proposed bond issue amount is set for $10 million. The estimated millage needed for improvements is 22 mils, assuming a 20-year term not exceeding 6%.

(Source: Rapides Parish School Board)

A similar bond issue is on the ballot for the Buckeye School District, looking to make improvements to Buckeye Elementary, Hayden R. Lawrence Upper Elementary, Buckeye Jr. High and Buckeye High School.

The district hopes to make structural improvements, like constructing a new junior high to replace the current one built in the 1960s, as well as reformating the pickup line to resolve traffic jams that occur on Highway 1207 from the car rider lines. They also hope to build new programs and opportunities for students through new facilities, like a new auditorium for a theatre program, as well as a facility for a career and technical education program.

The bond issue amount is set for $14 million. The estimated millage needed for improvements is 32 mils over a 20-year period.

(Source: Rapides Parish School Board)

“When we get down to it, this is about the kids, the teachers and the facility, and the opportunity to give that place to the teachers to give these kids a better education and offer these kids more opportunities moving forward,” explained Mark Dryden, Rapides Parish School Board member for District C. “It comes with a cost, and we know that. But we’re asking the community to come together as a family, and vote yes to help us pass this bond.”

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