By Kevin Shannahan
Natchitoches Parish Superintendent Dale Skinner informed about 25 concerned citizens on the upcoming bond issue Monday night, Oct. 17, at Natchitoches Jr. High-Frankie Ray Jackson. He was joined by Board Members Russ Danzy, Rhonda Guidroz, Tommy Melder, Steven Harris, Joella Wilson and Ralph Wilson.
The bond issue is expected to raise $18 million to fund improvements in the schools of District 9, the schools located in the city. Each of the schools is due to receive funds for infrastructure repairs and upgrades as well as security improvements. Skinner and the board members pointed out that the buildings have old and inefficient heating and cooling systems that are expensive to run and increasingly hard to maintain. The schools’ roofs need repair, restroom facilities need expansion and renovation and several schools will replace carpet with easier to maintain tile floors. Natchitoches Central High School is slated to receive a new athletic field house, a new classroom building and a 1,300 seat grandstand with new restrooms and a concession stand. In addition to these major improvements, NCHS will also renovate the existing field house and upgrade the heating and cooling system as well as other improvements.
The old bonds will be paid off in December when the new bond issue, if passed, will take effect. The effect on homeowners will be quite modest. The Homestead Exemption will exempt any property valued at $75,000 or less from any tax, while the tax of 7 mills will increase the yearly tax burden on a home valued at $150,000 by only $16.88.