St. Charles schools rely heavily on millage renewal


March 28, 2007 at 3:37 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The largest source of income for St. Charles Parish schools is in the hands of parish voters March 31 as they head to the polls to decide whether to renew the general fund millage.

Increasing costs for items covered by the general fund and a drastic drop in available insurance coverage due to Hurricane Katrina make this renewal more important than ever, according to the school board.

St. Charles schools had $200 million in hurricane insurance coverage pre-Katrina.

It is now reduced to FEMA’s maximum amount of coverage of $10 million, making it extremely important that the schools have the millage to ensure they have additional revenue in their undesignated fund balance if a disaster would tear through St. Charles, according to Superintendent Rodney Lafon.

The renewal amounts to approximately $9 million of the school system’s funding annually, 35.7 percent of their general fund, although total funds incurred from the millage have decreased by 5 percent since 1997.

While funds from the millage have decreased, health insurance costs for employees has doubled over the last 10 years, from $5 million to $10 million and retirement costs for employees of the school system has increased 5 percent since 2001.

The increase in sales tax revenue which the school board also gets a portion of have been particularly high since Katrina, but a study by the school board has shown that those numbers are already starting to decrease, once again adding emphasis to the importance of the millage funds.

LaFon feels strongly about the necessity to renew the millage, not only for the sake of the employees but more importantly for the 750 classrooms full of children whose chance at a quality education depends on having the proper funding.

“The true cost is the value of our students,” Lafon said.

When and where to cast your vote

The polls are open Saturday, March 31, from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. parish wide.

If you have questions about your eligibility to vote or to find out where to vote, call the St. Charles Parish Registrar of Voters, Janice Hymel, at 985-783-2731.

Or you can visit www.louisianaelections.gov




View other articles written By Caleb Frey

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