Oct 24, 2011 10:35 PM by Maddie Garrett

School Tax Fails, School Board Considers Options

Lafayette Public Schools will have to find a new way to pay for repairs, after two tax millages aimed at updating some public schools failed at the polls on Saturday.

For the Lafayette Parish School Board, it's now time to regroup and star discussing what to do now after the proposed school tax didn't pass.

Of the people that that voted in Saturday's elections, 60% said no to funding the nearly $600 million Master Facilities Plan that would have repaired and rebuilt Lafayette public schools.

"It was a major disappointment that more people didn't get out to vote and to vote yes," said Sarah Walker. "It was disappointing for the kids."

Walker heads up the Citizen's Oversight Committee that was charged with getting community input and drawing up a plan to fix the aging school facilities.

"The needs are there and the needs are going to be there, they're growing," said Walker.

So what now? School Board President Mark Babineaux said they'll have to find another way, which could include breaking down the original Master Facilities Plan.

"The superintendent, the financial officer, we've all been putting our heads together just to see what our options are for the board to consider in serious fashion to be able to get something possibly on the ballot by as early as February or March," said Babineaux.

But Babineaux said the challenge remains getting people to open their wallets and invest in the schools.

"If somebody can show us how to run a public schools system without taxes and without grants, we're listening," he said.

Babineaux also pointed out, this could make the superintendent search more difficult, because whoever takes over will inherit the same challenges they've been dealing with for over a decade.



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