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Kinder High School. (Special to the American Press)

Kinder High School. (Special to the American Press)

Taxes to support Allen schools up for vote

Last Modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:50 PM

By Doris Maricle / American Press

OBERLIN — Allen Parish voters will go to the polls Saturday, May 3, to decide on the continuance of a parishwide property tax to help provide additional support to public schools, including teacher salaries and benefits, and other expenses.

Voters in the Reeves and Grant areas will also decide on continuances of separate property taxes to help maintain and operate public schools in those areas.

Early voting for the election continues 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. through Saturday at the Allen Parish Registrar of Voters Office.

Parishwide, voters will be asked to decide the fate of a 10-year, 5.15-mill property tax budgeted to bring in $438,600 annually, according to Allen Parish School Board Finance Director Wilfred Bourne.

About 85 percent of the revenue is used for teacher salaries and benefits for the system’s 680 employees, Bourne said. The remaining revenues provide for “general expenses,” including utilities, transportation needs, supplies and daily operating expenses.

“It is crucial that we have this so we can continue to pay our employees and provide support for their salaries,” Bourne said. “We can’t support salaries and other expenses without it.”

The tax was last approved by voters in 2004 and expires this year, Bourne said. The rate represents a 0.02-mill increase.

Voters in School Board District 3 of Reeves are also being asked to continue a 10-year, 7.74-mill property tax for maintenance and operation of Reeves High. The rate represents a 0.54-mill increase over the current 7.20-mill tax. It will generate $93,300 a year.

Voters in School District 4A in Grant are also being asked to continue a 10-year, 23.62-mill property tax for maintenance and operation of Fairview High. The rate represents a 3.88-mill increase over the current 19.74-mill tax. It will generate $111,400 a year.

The revenues are vital to the maintenance and operation of both K-12 schools and provide about half of the maintenance money needed to operate the schools, Bourne said.

“The money is used for a multitude of things, including building and vehicle maintenance, materials and supplies, equipment rental and purchases, telephones, instructional materials, supplies and more,” he said. “It would be hard to provide the services without the money.”

The state’s homestead exemption is applied to the tax millages.

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