EBR school board rolls millage, generating millions

Education
Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 10:12pm

With property reassessments coming in about three-percent higher in East Baton Rouge, the school board was faced with a decision; keep the millage rate the same -- which would bring millions of dollars more to the system -- or roll the millage rate back and not collect any extra money.

"This is not a new tax," said Superintendent Bernard Taylor. "It's disingenuous to represent that it is."

Taylor set the tone for his argument, saying it's not a new tax since the mill rate would stay the same and that homes assessed at $100,000 would only pay $3 more in property taxes. Equating it to a lunch out or a trip to Starbucks.

"Recognize when doing so that it's to propel a child's education," Taylor said.

But not everyone in the room agreed, saying all the small amounts being paid out equal a large total.

"We can't stand it as property owners," said Woody Jenkins, who said he was speaking on behalf of the East Baton Rouge Republican Party. "We've seen no increase in our income and you're asking for money we don't have to pay."

The extra money amounts to nearly $4 million more for the East Baton Rouge School System, which had to cut $28 million from it's budget recently. Many parents in the room demanded the board vote yes, or else be held accountable for their actions.

"Do what you know is right for the kids," said Belinda Davis, who has children in EBR schools. "Because we're watching and that's what we elected you to do."

The school board eventually voted in favor of rolling the mill rate forward by a vote of eight-to-three. It should generate $3.7 million every year for four years.

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