OPELOUSAS, L.a. — The St. Landry Parish School Board approved its 'master plan' on Thursday and now voters will have their say.
The four-part plan is now opening the floor to the public vote on three tax propositions for its phase 1.
Superintendent Patrick Jenkins told KATC phase 1 of this enhancement plan focuses primarily on K-4 schools. He said the three propositions at stake include: I. a raise in teacher and support staff salaries; II. athletic facility enhancements; and III. capital improvements to build four new K-4 schools in the parish, respectively.
Jenkins said these propositions are untied meaning if one or more are voted for but the other(s) not, the millage of the passed proposition(s) will still be considered.
As for the reason behind Proposition I, Jenkins said a raise in employee salaries of this nature is long overdue as St. Landry Parish falls behind others in Acadiana.
"Our starting salary is 40 thousand dollars and we want to be able to be competitive in Acadiana," Jenkins said.
If passed, Proposition I will raise teachers' annual salaries by $3,000 and support staff salaries by $2,000 a year — thus generating $6.5 million over the next 10 years.
Regarding Proposition II, Jenkins said it would provide much-needed improvements to the parish's athletic facilities — to the tune of approximately $662,000 annually over the next decade.
"Right now, there's only one track in St. Landry -- high school track in St. Landry Parish that is currently functional that our athletes can use as well as the public," Jenkins said. "And so we want to provide the opportunity for people to get active and we want to provide the opportunity for athletes to compete."
And then there's Proposition III — capital improvements with the goal of building four new K-4 schools in the parish. Jenkins said he hopes this will bring old and outdated infrastructure into the 21st-century with a grand total of approximately $150,000,000 over the next 30 years.
"Everything's included," Jenkins noted. "We have cost for land, we have a cost for furniture, fixtures, equipment — everything's included when we're looking at building these 21st-century schools for our children."
At this time, Jenkins said there is no specific location or design set for these new schools. This will be determined based on school size and enrollment if the proposition passes.
If you live in St. Landry Parish, you'll be able to vote on the three propositions of the master plan's Phase 1 on March 26 in a special election.
If voted for, Jenkins said the process will take at least 5 years to complete before potentially moving on to the following phases.
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