The Red River Parish School Board is asking voters to approve construction of new facilities at the High School, Junior High, Central Office, Tech and Parent Center, and the Athletic Complex. There is also upgrading of many facilities included in the board’s capital construction plans.
Voters are being asked to approve two property tax measures October 14th. The Journal sat down with Superintendent Alison Hughes and Finance Director David Jones this week to go over the plans and how the public is asked to fund them.
These proposition represent no new tax and no increase in the property tax homeowners presently pay. Hughes and Jones presented The Journal with a 4-page brochure created by the board’s architect to explain the projects to be funded by General Obligation Bonds. Anyone wishing a copy of the brochure may pick one up at the Central Office on Alonzo Street.
Jones said, “The present bond issue was passed in 1998 and funded construction of the Elementary and Junior High schools and the renovations of the High School building. That bond issue expires at the end of this year.” Jones added, “When passed in 1998 the tax rate was 42 mills. It has decreased to only 2.25 mills today due to the increase in property values following the natural gas boom of the past few years.”
How much will the proposed bond issue cost property owners? Superintendent Alison Hughes said, “Property values in the parish have increased to over $200,000,000 today with 90 percent of the increase due to natural gas development. This new proposition will generate over $29,000,000 for construction projects. But for homeowners their yearly tax bill will remain about the same.”
Hughes stressed, “The economic impact of these projects will be very large for our parish. Over the next three to five years we will see many construction jobs to build the new buildings and facilities. Much of it will benefit local contractors and local workers.”
The other school board tax proposition on the ballot is the Construction, Repair and Equipment proposition. Jones said, “It calls for a tax of 5.62 mills. This is the same rate of the past several years. That issue is a renewal of the school’s board’s tax that happens every 10 years. “ Jones explained, “It is used for repairs and maintenance at schools and other district facilities. Income from this proposition funds ongoing maintenance and cleaning and janitorial supplies. It also pays for repairing air conditioning, electrical and other items.”
The school board at it’s September meeting encouraged the public to study their requests and approve both propositions on October 14th.