Ascension Parish voters to decide on school tax extension in 201 - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Ascension Parish voters to decide on school tax extension in 2016

(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB) (Source: WAFB)

In Ascension Parish, the school system has 118 temporary classroom buildings in use. There are 11 of them at Dutchtown Primary.

The district has maxed out on space in several of its schools. They are hoping residents will approve funds in an April election so they can solve the space issue. 

On Tuesday night, school board members voted to ask voters in Ascension to extend an existing 15.08 property tax. On a $150,000 home that equals out to $8 a month. The tax should generate $120 million, which would be used to for building updates and construction. 

"We want to build new schools," said Jackie Tisdell, the system spokesperson. "Three new primary and one new middle school, to relieve the existing pressure and growth." 

Tisdell said the district has added between 400 to 600 students every year for more than 10 years. At Dutchtown Primary, the school no longer holds all the students. Half of them have classes in the temporary buildings on campus. 

"We have between 800 and 850 students here at Dutchtown Primary," she said. 

For a primary, 600 students is a normal capacity and 720 is the max capacity. Some of the primary schools have as many as 900 students. 

In addition to Dutchtown Primary, Tisdell said six other primary schools operate over capacity. 

If the tax extension is passed, the money will also be used on security upgrades at the schools for things like security cameras and secure entrances at the older facilities. The school system would also like to have covered playgrounds for all the primary schools. 

Three of the high schools in the district would also get freshman academies. 

Tisdell said there are also plans for a new high school in the future. They already have the land for that. 

Voters will be asked to make a decision in April 2016. 

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