St. John School Board sets bond election hearing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005


Staff Reporter

RESERVE-A public hearing on Thursday will give concerned citizens the opportunity to get more information on an upcoming special election involving the St. John the Baptist School System borrowing millions in bonds.

The meeting will be held by the school board’s Communications Committee to explain and answer any questions that the public may have before the election, to be held July 16.

Though the proposal in question would authorize the district to borrow $20 million in bonds, according to school officials, it will not cause the passage of any new taxes.

The election would also call to rededicate a 6 mills property tax for employee salaries and fringe benefits, as well as renew a 4.57 mills property tax for the operation and maintenance of school facilities.

The meeting will take place at 4 p.m. at the old Leon Godchaux Grammar cafeteria in Reserve. It will be held directly before the regularly scheduled board meeting.

On March 13, the school board voted to seek permission to hold the election authorizing the borrowing of bonds to use on projects such as expansion of existing school buildings and construction of new school buildings.

At that meeting some school board members stressed concerns that they were moving too hastily with a decision for a proposition that called for so much money. The proposal was added in late to the original agenda.

Board member Clarence Triche expressed ire about having to vote on any issue so quickly.

“How can you make a good, rational decision at the last minute,” he asked.

Board Member Keith Jones was especially adamant about possible recklessness with the to vote, repeatedly saying, “this is not $20, this is not $20,000, this is a lot of money.”

However, the majority of the board, including Triche, decided it was an opportunity that should not be passed up.

Board member Russ Wise recently said that good fiscal management on the school system’s part has put them in a position to get favorable interest rates.

Wise said he sees the proposal as a “true win-win situation.”

“There will be no additional taxes, and we can improve schools and raise teacher pay at the same time,” he said.

Matthew Ory is the Communications Committee Chairman. The proposal was submitted by Superintendent Michael Coburn.