Property tax renewals impact EBR schools

Dufroc Elementary Kindergarten Class
Dufroc Elementary Kindergarten Class

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The future of public education is in the hands of voters. A number of property taxes are up for renewal this Saturday. It is money that directly affects how students learn. Some teachers said they are worried about the outcome.

Carol Bender's kindergarten class is taking a break from reading, writing and arithmetic to learn a little about the science of plants.

Bender uses a program called Brain Pop Jr. to motivate her students. Her classroom is filled with learning tools meant to help stimulate learning.

"Take a look around my room. A lot of this I paid for myself but the majority of it I did not because we have the money in our budget to get the things we need to enrich their learning," Bender said.

That money comes from one of two property taxes which together raise $43.3 million for the East Baton Rouge School District. A portion of that money, 6.5 mills, goes to the general operations of the schools such as maintenance, new equipment and construction. The other tax, 7.19 mills, benefit employee salaries and benefits.

If approved by voters, both taxes would be renewed through 2023. If not, The Dufroc School Principal, Mary Robvias explained, some 43,000 students in the school district could feel the pinch.

"That will affect the instruction because the size of the classrooms will increase and you'll have to do a lot more with less," Robvias said.

"There will be fewer school supplies, fewer special programs. Teacher salaries will be affected," Bender added.

Bender has seen taxes work. She views it as an investment in their futures and yours.

"It will send a message to them when that tax passes, you know what, you guys are important to us," Bender said.

Voters in West Baton Rouge, St. Helena and East Feliciana parishes will also consider similar millage tax renewals on Saturday.

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