Tax increase call looms; School Board moves on LPE construction

Published 2:09 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015

RESERVE — St. John the Baptist Parish School Board members officially put the community on notice that they are considering asking voters to approve a millage increase or sale tax increase.

During a special meeting at noon Tuesday, School Board members voted to bring the options up for official vote among themselves at their January meeting.

Superintendent Kevin George stressed Tuesday no final decisions have been made.

“At our January Board meeting, we will then have to decide whether or not we’re going to ask the voters to approve that,” he said.

Earlier this year, School District Executive Director of Finance Felix Boughton foretold of the potential tax increase when addressing the Board.

“If our financial situation is the same in December as it is right now, we’re going to recommend that you call an election in January for May to increase the millages,” Boughton said.

There was no public discussion on the issue during Tuesday’s meeting.

In other School District business, Board members approved a plan to finance the construction of a new Lake Pontchartrain Elementary for $23,295,000 that would include the addition of a gymnasium.

The school site, which sits on U.S. 51, has been unused by students since Hurricane Isaac struck the region in 2012. The LPE community of 600 kindergarten through eighth grade students and staff members are currently located in a temporary site at the rear of East St. John Elementary.

Construction plans announced earlier this year called for the school to be rebuilt and opened in August 2017. However, the newest timeline calls for the school’s opening to be pushed back to Jan. 7, 2018.

School Board members also approved Yeates and Yeates Architects to begin the design phase for constructing a new East St. John Elementary, which was damaged by fire in August. George said Tuesday the District is still securing an insurance settlement, which is needed to lock down final construction plans.