Nov 15, 2013 10:27 PM by Erin Steuber

LPSS Retreat to Discuss $386 Million in Renovations

The Lafayette Parish School Board is gearing up to discuss more than $386 million in repairs to schools, as well as ways to fund them. That will happen at a retreat Saturday. The list of repairs includes nearly every campus containing projects from the previous administration's Master Plan, and other needs identified by principals. But it ultimately will come down to the school board who will decide whether to give the public a chance to vote.

It's a massive undertaking; Renovating nearly every school in Lafayette Parish over the next 5 to 6 years. From $125,000 in renovations at Youngsville Middle School to more than $17 million in renovations at Acadiana High, all the way to a new high school for the parish. If some of it sounds familiar, it is. Back in 2011, Lafayette Parish voters struck down the Master Plan.

"If you look at the last version of our plan, it was around $500 million. The last election, it was $560 million. So we've cut it down by almost $200 million," said Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper. "They've also added in the program piece, which amounts to about $30 million. So when you total all that up, you come to $415, or $416, million.

Cooper thinks this time around will be different.

"I just got a lot of confidence in the public. They want a good school district. They want a plan. They want to know the money is going to be spent right. They want some leadership," said Cooper. "I think we're going to be able to give them all those things. I have high hopes if we can just get it through the board."

The work is based on recommendations from the community education plan committee. Their hope is the board will ask voters to support a combination of property, and sales, taxes to pay for it all.

"The future of the Lafayette Parish School System, and the future of Lafayette Parish in general, really rests in the hands of these school board members. Nine people who are going to make a decision if this is going to go on the ballot for people to vote on," said Cooper.

Saturday's retreat is open to the public and starts at 8 AM at the Lafayette Parish School Board office. The school board will vote at their meeting Wednesday whether to allow the public to vote on the issue.



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