St. John School Board calls April tax election

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 23, 2006


Staff Reporter

EDGARD — The St. John Parish School Board approved on Thursday a special election on April 29 for the renewal of a 4.57 mill property tax aimed at facility operation and maintenance for the parish schools.

If approved, the tax would generate $850,000 annually to St. John Parish schools for the purpose of securing revenues to operate the school facilities.

The tax must be renewed in the special election to be used for the upcoming budget year according to Executive Director of Business and Finance for St. John Parish Schools, Felix K. Boughton.

The mill tax, which would be used for necessary school maintenance, was previously voted down last July. It is a renewal of an existing tax that was last approved in 1997.

Even months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, St. John schools are still feeling their effects from roof damage. The board approved $482,460 to repair existing hurricane caused roof damage at seven different St. John School sites. The cost will be incurred by FEMA and the school’s insurance.

Another item approved on the school board agenda during the meeting held at West St. John Elementary, was the appointment of Darlene Welsh for the position of Coordinator of Compliance and Discipline. Her job duties are to include identifying and eliminating undesirable influences that affect students’ participation in the educational process.

Welsh obtained the job only after competing with several other candidates and completing a series of interviews under a panel of St. John School administrators.

The subject of the 2006-2007 St. John School Calendar was of some concern to School Board member Russ Wise. The schedule is set for school to begin Aug. 10 and end May 23, 2007. This would allow for one extra makeup day according to Assistant Superintendent Herbert Smith. &#8220We always start the Christmas break in the middle of the week,” Wise said. &#8220Why don’t we just hold off until the end of the week to start the break?”

Superintendent Michael Coburn was quick to explain to Wise that the break beginning in the middle of the week was a necessity to keep the rest of the schedule on track. The 2006-2007 school calendar was then approved by the School Board.

Wise also noted the lackluster conditions of the elementary school playgrounds.

&#8220It looks as if our playgrounds need a lot of attention again,” Wise said. &#8220Playgrounds in elementary schools are just as important as doors or windows.”

Superintendent Coburn assured Wise they were already in plans to survey each of the playgrounds and make the necessary renovations.