The Orleans Parish School Board decided Tuesday night to allow its May tax increase to stand rather than cut it due to higher-than-expected property assessments. That means Orleans schools will get $3.8 million more from taxpayers next year than anticipated.
The board also approved two charter school applications and set the millage rate for its general obligation bonds.
Back in May, the board voted to raise its millage from 43.6 mills to 45.31 mills. Many schools and education advocacy organizations welcomed the extra cash considering the state’s per-pupil funding has remained stagnant over the last three years.
But when property assessments increased in October, the board needed to publicly revisit its original calculations, board president Thomas Robichaux said during the meeting.
The School Board had estimated that property values in Orleans Parish would total about $2.9 billion next year, but it will be closer to $3.1 billion. That means the board will get $3.8 million more than it expected. In total, the School Board will collect about $124 million in property taxes next year.
The board’s decision was supported by audience members, including Algiers Charter School Association interim CEO Adrian Morgan, Stand for Children executive director Westley Bayas, and Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools executive director Caroline Roemer Shirley.
Bayas was pointed in his appeal: “I encourage you, accept the money,” he told board members. By not changing the tax rate, Morgan said, the board could provide $75 more per student at his schools.
The board didn’t vote to keep the millage rate; members simply declined to put the matter up for a vote.
Though they didn’t reduce the millage, it will be slightly less than the May estimate — 44.81 mills rather than 45.31 — because members changed the millage for its general obligation bonds, Interim Superintendent Stan Smith said. That went from 4.97 mills to 4.47 mills.
Other highlights from the agenda:
Charter school applications: The board approved applications for Bricolage Academy, a new charter school that will start with kindergarten, and Inspire NOLA, a new charter management organization that will take over Alice Harte Charter Elementary School and Edna Karr Charter High School.
The board denied a application for the OPEN School by the Four Peas Group, after a failed motion by Brett Bonin to conditionally approve its application. The group had weaknesses in its charter application, Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools Kathleen Padian said. Each charter school approval was met with applause.
The board’s next general meeting is Dec. 18.
The archive of the live blog is below.