Soon, Natchitoches voters will decide whether the proposed tax that Natchitoches Parish School Board has brought to the table (again) will be passed or failed. The proposed tax would focus on repairing all schools in District 9. These renovations would include rooftops, air conditioning, and better security. Sounds great, right? Well this helpful tax is in jeopardy for being failed…AGAIN!
The proposition is on its third try to succeed with the people. It’s been turned down twice within the last two years. Many, including Dale Skinner say, “…those who don’t support the tax can basically say they don’t support the children…” Dale Skinner’s position is that the Natchitoches League of Voters is a persuasion group convincing people to vote no and preventing the tax from being passed.
Personally, we believe that the tax should be passed because it would be beneficial to all students and teachers. It would provide a better work environment for students and teachers; motivate educators to improve their performance; and provide students with a more comfortable and inspiring learning environment. This could allow teachers and students to work more harmoniously and this would allow higher test scores. It could allow our district grade to improve to an A, which is the ultimate goal.
Let’s look at this in more depth. The tax is only a total of $20 for property valued at $100,000. If your home is valued at $300,000 the property tax for the year would increase $180. Basically, the higher the value of your home, the higher your property tax would be. If you do not own a home guess what? You pay nothing! We asked Mr. Skinner and Mrs. Page whether or not the tax would include commercial property, however at the time of the interview they were unable to answer this question, though they did admit that the assumption was that the tax would include commercial property.
Taking a hard look at the current conditions of our school, NJH-FRJS, the campus still needs major repairs considering the $2 million spent on earlier repairs to the school only did so much (and it was not enough). The restrooms are desperately in need of work, not only for hygienic purposes but also for ease of access, and we need more than one restroom per gender to accommodate all of the student population. The roof is still in need of repairs. The walls need attention. The flooring need to be replaced in some places. Can you explain why in 2018 our school doesn’t have enough computers or any Wi-Fi? There have been too many school shootings in the last few years. We need security. There are no measures of security to protect students or adults on our campus. All we have are cameras and we would need someone hired to only watch them all day…and all they could do is watch as something happened. We are encouraged to participate in sports and other activities; however, the bleachers, track, football field, and play courts are barely holding up. The $18 million the tax would bring in is incredibly needed not only for our school, but all the others.
So, here’s our plea: Go Vote Yes! We need this drastically. We deserve better learning environments. We are your future. We need to be the best we can be.
*Mr. John Winston was not available to speak with us when contacted to find out more about the Natchitoches Voters’ League’s opposing position on this tax.
Jaime Roberson, Liberty Carter, Aniray Augustus