Voters in Central asked to approve $13.1 million in bonds for sc - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Voters in Central asked to approve $13.1 million in bonds for schools

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) -

Residents in Central are once again being asked to dedicate money to the school system there. Back in 2009, voters approved a multi-million dollar tax to improve the schools. Now the school district says it needs 13.1 million more in bonds.

"We stand at about 4,350," said Central Community School System Superintendent Michael Faulk, about their current enrollment number.

The Central Community School System has stood on its own for seven years and every year, the superintendent says they average about 150-200 new students. To maintain their ranking as the fourth best district in the state, the superintendent says the growing district needs to continue to make improvements.

"It's facilities, it's technology, it's compensation for employees."

The proposed 13.1 million dollars in bonds will address those items. Superintendent Faulk says the money is essentially an extension of the 20-year tax voters approved in 2009.

"Have to ask the people for permission to issue some additional bonds, general obligation bonds, funded by property taxes already on the books. It wouldn't cause taxes to increase," Faulk said.

He believes district leaders have shown they can be trusted with money. He points to the new school complex that opened in 2012, built using the 2009 property tax.

Part of the money they are now asking to collect, would go to demolishing parts of the old Central Middle School. A large portion would go to the high school, specifically adding a 9th grade academy to the campus.

"We have our 9th grade students in temporary buildings," the superintendent said. "Building ninth grade academy, two story building with science lab, technology lab."

The total cost for that project is five million dollars.

Another bulk of the money will upgrade technology in the district. Starting in 2015, all high stakes testing will be done online. Meaning the district needs to make sure they have enough computers and enough bandwidth.

Sports would also get a share of the funds, to add lights to the ball fields, so games no longer have to be suspended when the sun sets.

The superintendent says it will all be done, without increasing your taxes.

Below is a breakdown of how the 13.1 million will be spent:

Proposal

Authority to issue up to $13.1 million in General Obligations Bond

Work to be done:

  1. Construct a Ninth Grade Academy Building at Central High.
    1. It is approximately 38,800 sq. feet. There will be 14-16 classrooms, four science labs, two technology labs, four student restrooms, two offices, two prep rooms, two work rooms, two book rooms, elevator/machine, two custodial closets.
    2. The money will also pay for circulation, structural, mechanical and electrical installation in the new building. The school will have a capacity for 450-500 students.
    3. The estimated cost is $150 per sq. foot, which is $5,820,000
    4. Parking lot repairs at Central High – Estimated Cost of $1,800,000
    5. Lighting of ball fields at Central High – Estimated Cost of $500,000
    6. District-Wide Increased Technology Capacity – Estimated Cost of $2,000,000
    7. Demolition, Asbestos Abatement and upgrading parking at Old CMS
      1. Demolition and asbestos abatement of buildings for which no further use is warranted: auditorium, gym, cafeteria, 6th grad building, library building, old girl's gym – Estimated Cost $1,000,000
      2. Resurfacing parking areas and add parking area – Estimated Cost $400,000

Total Estimated Cost of all items 1-5 is $11,620,000

Contingency Cost Estimates at 12 percent - $1,394,400

Grand Total Cost $13,014,400

Voter approval needed to access additional bonding capacity – no increase in current property tax rate.

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