Dist. 7 schools: How will the millage renewal/increase affect them?

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By Eugean Garner, Natchitoches Parish School Board member, Dist. 7 Before school starts in a couple of weeks, voters in school district 7 will go to the polls to decide the fate of a millage tax renewal/increase. I would like to take this opportunity to differentiate the original bond issue that was voted on in 2017 and the upcoming election proposition on the Aug. 15 ballot. The Rev. Steve Harris, (school board member in Dist. 7) and I have done our best to be as transparent as possible as to how taxpayers money has been spent since going into effect.  The original $7.2 million bond that passed in 2017 took care of all of the upgrades listed below for Lakeview, Goldonna and Fairview campuses.

Completed Items

Seamless Gutters

Fairview Elementary/Jr. High School

* New LED lighting

* New air conditioning system

* New playground equipment on both playgrounds

* New LED sign in front of the school

*Paint for interior of school

* Wax for the floors

* Tennis balls for the desks, chairs and tables to protect the floors

* Lawn Mower

* Softball field

* Upcoming walking track

Lakeview Jr./Sr. High School

* New LED lighting

* New air conditioning system

* New LED sign in front of the school

*New Culinary arts kitchen

*Newly renovated restrooms throughout campus

*Newly renovated  football field

*Newly renovated all weather 8-lane track

*New sprinkler system

*Newly renovated boy’s ballpark, restroom, concession and press box

*Newly built girl’s ballpark, restroom, concession and press box

*Newly renovated Multipurpose weight room

* New sidewalks around the campus

* Activity bus

Goldonna Elementary/Jr. High School

* Newly renovated roof for auditorium

* Newly renovated roof for lower building

* New air conditioning system in the auditorium

* New air conditioning system in the cafeteria

* New walk-in freezer and cooler for cafeteria

* New sidewalk canopies

* New floor tile throughout campus

* New parking lot

* Newly renovated faculty bathroom

* Newly renovated student bathrooms throughout campus

* Newly placed entrance/exit in upper building

* New basketball court

* New playground area Incomplete Items Fairview

* Sidewalks and walking path from parking lot to ballfield back around to the main building

* Cosmetic updates to the restrooms on campus Goldonna

* Security fence around campus

* Renovate roof on the office building

Where the original bond was to update each of the campuses, the upcoming proposition for a 12 millage, if passed, will be solely dedicated to maintenance and upkeep of buildings and grounds including air conditioner, roof, heating repairs and equipment repairs to keep these facilities in good working order and safe for the students, faculty and staff.

The proposed millage will be in effect for the next 10 years with every cent used strictly on maintenance and upkeep of the facilities. Absolutely no funding from this millage will go toward any employee. The current millage will expire at midnight Dec. 31, 2020.

If this proposition is not renewed/passed, it is with 100% certainty the three facilities will deteriorate and have no funding to upkeep and maintain.  It is critical that we anticipate the requirements to maintain these schools. For the past 50+ years, the millage was 7 mills, which has not met the needs of upkeep, therefore we are seeking an increase of 5 mills added to the previous 7 mills (for a total of 12 mills) to ensure adequate funds for maintenance and upkeep.

Concerns were brought to our attention at the public meetings, such as the need for a new girls softball field at Lakeview.  Originally the plans were to renovate the old softball field, where restrooms and concession stands had fallen apart.  During the process the administrator, architect and coaches decided it would be more feasible to build a new softball field where it provides access to parking spaces already in place and puts the new field closer while making cuts in other areas to allow this change. Rev. Harris and I would like to thank each of you in advance for taking pride in our campuses.

If you have any questions or concerns leading up to the election or after, reach out to us directly so that we can answer your concerns.

Early voting is in progress through Aug. 8 and Election Day is Saturday, Aug. 15. Polls are open Election Day from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.