UPDATE: Voters Approve Tax to Help Build New School

By David Cawton | dcawton@nbc10news.net

Published 05/02 2014 05:43PM

Updated 05/03 2014 10:26PM

UPDATE: Voters in east Ouachita Parish approve a tax that will help the school district build a new middle school in Swartz.

The tax will generate $28.5 million. Voters approved the tax with 83% of the vote. 

OUACHITA PARISH - There are more than 1,000 students attending Ouachita Junior High School.

Principal Marsha Baker says it's not an unusual number, but one that needs to come down.

"I think supervisionally, it would be a lot better if we could get some space and get it spread out a little bit and not have as many kids in one place," said Baker.

On Saturday voters will decide whether or not to extend an existing tax proposal that would provide east Ouachita schools with $28.5 million in bonds.

That money will help alleviate the large enrollment at Ouachita Junior High School by building another middle school nearby.    

"I think if they split the school we would have a lot more opportunity to serve them in better ways," adds Baker.

Since Ouachita Junior used to be a high school, he layout isn't conducive to other middle schools, where students are confined to their age groups.

"If you look at Calhoun or Good-Hope or West Ridge, they're designed in wings,  like a 6th grade wing, a 7th grade wing, an 8th grade wing, and so they can isolate them better than we can."

Superintendent Bob Weber says this tax proposal will effect every school east of the Ouachita and those outside the Monroe city limits.

"The bottom line, it will not be an increase," said Weber. "Every school in our district will get something, and it's entirely based on what the principals have told us they need at their schools."

Some of that money will go towards expanding classrooms at Sterlington Elementary school, and building a new multipurpose center at Richwood High School.

"You’re going to get a lot for the tax, if it passes," said Weber.

Back at Ouachita Junior High,  Principal Baker hopes residents vote yes on Saturday.

"It's about what's best for the kids, and if that's where your vote comes from, than I think we'll be fine."

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