Nov 14, 2013 7:02 PM by Dwayne Fatherree

LPSS bringing nearly $400 million wish list to retreat Saturday

The Lafayette Parish School System released its "blended" list of improvements needed to the district's schools under the turnaround plan Thursday afternoon with a bottom line of $386,764,781.25.

-- See the full list (50k PDF)

That figure includes a $77 million cost buffer for potential overruns, inflation and potential architectural and engineering fees; $50 million for a new high school; and $1 million for a projected expansion of the Early College Academy in conjunction with South Louisiana Community College.

Even at $386 million, though, this project list comes in at around two-thirds the cost of the previous administration's Master Facilities Plan.

"This is a further reduction from the $560 million that the public rejected at the last election," Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper said Thursday night. "This is the best set of projects we could come up with to take care of needs of the students and spend least amount of money from the public."

For existing schools, the list also includes anywhere from $125,000 at Youngsville Elementary, for security upgrades and health and wellness improvements, to more than $17 million at Acadiana High for projects that include a new 800-seat auditorium, the replacement of 24 portable buildings, a new field house and air conditioning for the existing gymnasiums.

"The list does add an additional high school," Cooper said. "But because of the charter schools coming into the district and the expansion of the ECA, which will add a school for 1,000 students, we were able to reduce number of new schools needed."

The list, which combines the previous administration's Master Facilities Plan with the current administration's principal's list of needs, will be a point of discussion this weekend.

The Lafayette Parish School Board will meet with members of the administration and the community to discuss how it will make improvements to its infrastructure -- and most importantly, how it will pay for them.

In addition to the project list, the administration has laid out five tax options -- varying from a half-cent sales tax combined with a 16-mills property tax to a straight 25 mills levy -- to create additional revenue needed to accomplish the proposed upgrades.

Saturday's agenda also includes a discussion of recommendations from the Community Education Plan Committee and how the district will utilize its $8.8 million surplus.

The retreat will be held in the school board meeting room, 113 Chaplin Drive in Lafayette.



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