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Superintendent says struggling district needed tax money

3 years 5 months 2 weeks ago April 07, 2013 Apr 7, 2013 Sunday, April 07 2013 April 07, 2013 6:17 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Olivia LaBorde

CLINTON- More than 70-percent of voters rejected the property tax that would fund schools in East Feliciana Parish.

"The election was for our students. And so we know what is needed for our students and so we were hoping for um a victory last night," says Superintendent Henderson Lewis.

Lewis tells News 2 those extra dollars would have gone towards improving the currently "D" rated school system, such as, raising salaries and investing in technology.

"We need to be able to keep the employees we have here but also to retain new employees. As well. And that's very hard when you are one of the lowest in the state," says Lewis.

The tax would have cost an extra $100 per year for the average homeowner. Will Mims is one of the few who says he would not mind paying it.

"I didn't even think about that, to pay more tax. All I wanted to do was to help our kids," he says.

Critics of the tax said that bump in taxes would scare potential homeowners away.

"I have no beef with the schools as far as being against them other than this tax. It's just too much money," says East Feliciana Parish Police Juror Dennis Aucoin.

While Lewis says he respects the voters' decision. He claims their choice is making it difficult to get East Feliciana kids ahead of the curve.

"Right now and starting next week and tomorrow our students will be taking the leap test and I leap. Those particular assessment are paper pencil tests." Lewis says. " We're transitioning away from that. We're transitioning to a state that will have all statewide assessment computer based. So we're not ready in East Feliciana."

Lewis says there are discussions of trying to put another tax on the ballot in the future.

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