George: Tax renewals strengthen school system, region

Published 12:03 am Saturday, October 14, 2017

St. John the Baptist Parish School Board is asking the community to renew 8 mills on the Oct. 14 ballot. This is a renewal and not a new tax.

I’m proud to say that our renewal has been endorsed by the River Region Chamber of Commerce, the St. John the Baptist Parish Business Association, our Tax Assessor Lucien Gauff and our Sheriff, Mike Tregre.

Four mills are for salaries allowing all of our employees to maintain competitive pay in the region. Three mills are for our Universal Pre-K program. These three mills also fund our Alternative School, which houses students who have been expelled, and our Connections Program, which is an accelerated program for over aged 8th grade students.

One mill is for retiree insurance, which allows us to maintain a level cost for those who have served our parish for the longest time.

We have made great strides in St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools.

We are committed to educating our children and we are constantly improving our facilities while being good stewards of public dollars as evidenced by our A+ Credit Rating and exemplary audits over the past four years.

Lake Pontchartrain Elementary will open in January of 2018 and the newly named East St. John Preparatory School will open in August of 2018.

We have roof projects going on at Garyville/Mt. Airy Magnet and Fifth Ward Elementary School. HVAC system projects are going on at West St. John High, LaPlace Elementary, Fifth Ward Elementary, Emily C. Watkins Elementary and Garyville/Mt. Airy Magnet.

All schools are being equipped with automated building systems in order to maximize energy efficiency.

We have equipped 40 of our 65 buses (with plans to have all complete by 2019) with air conditioning so that our students can ride in comfort to and from school and on field trips and athletic events.

Our music programs have been nationally recognized by VH-1 as a model for all to follow when establishing a music program in a school district. We have had a teacher named as a semifinalist for Louisiana Teacher of the year for four consecutive years.

We have had educational consultants from around the country and some from outside of the country visit our schools to review and study how we are implementing our curriculum. All of this is happening while our district continues to climb the District Report Card scale while maintaining a “B” rating from the Louisiana Department of Education!

Take time today to head to the polls and let your voices be heard. A strong community begins with a strong school system. Thanks for your support!

— Kevin R. George,
Superintendent of St. John the Baptist Public School District