Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vote yes for school pay raises

April 21st is decision time for Bossier Parish voters. Bossier teachers and support personnel, who are paid less than their counterparts in Webster, Red River, Caddo & DeSoto Parishes, haven't had a raise in seven years. The Bossier Parish School Board has a proposal to remedy that in a millage proposition coming up for a vote on that date, along with another millage proposal and a bond proposal to deal with facilities to match the growth of the parish.
School leaders have been holding meetings to explain the proposals and to answer questions. There are three more meetings scheduled:
April 2 - (Monday) - Bossier High School Auditorium
April 3 - (Tuesday) - Haughton High School Auditorium
April 10 - (Tuesday) Airline High School Auditorium
The first proposition on the ballot is for authorization $210,000,000 in twenty year bonds.
Bond Proposition

  • Summary: To authorize not exceeding $210,000,000 of not exceeding 20 year General Obligation Bonds of Parishwide School District of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana, for the purpose of acquiring and/or improving lands for building sites and playgrounds, including construction of necessary sidewalks and streets adjacent thereto; purchasing, erecting and/or improving school buildings and other school related facilities within and for the District and acquiring the necessary equipment and furnishings therefor, and refunding and extending outstanding certificates of indebtedness.

The first millage proposition is for a tax of 9.25 mills for pay and benefits for school employees. What was discussed was a 5% increase. (Of course, 5% to someone in the upper echelons is a lot more money than it is to, for example, a cafeteria worker.)
Millage Proposition No. 1

  • Summary: 10 year 9.25 mills property tax for Parishwide School District of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana, for the purpose of giving additional support to public schools by funding salaries and benefits for employees of the Parish School Board of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana. 

The second millage proposition is for 3.6 mills to furnish secondary & elementary schools with equipment and software.
Millage Proposition No. 2

  • Summary: 10 year 3.6 mills property tax for Parishwide School District of the Parish of Bossier, State of Louisiana, for the purpose of giving additional support to public elementary and secondary schools by providing technology equipment, software and enhancements.

If you want to read the entire proposals, you can find a PDF file here.
School officials are saying that this will be no increase from what is currently being taxed. Well, not quite so; on the books it will be an 18% increase, but they are promising to roll that percentage back to keep your taxes the same. Marty Carlson addressed that in Counting the Costs.
My feeling is that all three proposals will pass. Vote as your own conscience dictates.
But please – give a thought to the teachers, cafeteria workers, mainentance workers and others as you make your decision.

40 comments:

  1. I am going to vote no on all propositions. Why give the BPSB or any other government body more money and power when they have shown in the past that they can't be trusted to do the right thing. (past scandals) The BPSB should do as I have to in my house and that is to live on less. I do feel for the employees as I know I will never get any kind of raise the rest of my life but times are different now. We should all just say no to all politicians as we pay too much tax now and we should take back power. We should also remember that they are changing the rules on public education in Baton Rouge and no knows the effects of this. More taxes to cover what Jindel takes away? Vote no and let's see what is coming down the pike! Vote NO!

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  2. I'll be voting no myself. I would like to thank all the teachers out there. I believe you do an excellent job, but I can't trust the school board and especially the superintendent to do what's right with our tax dollars. Get rid of him and I'll vote yes.

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  3. Another no vote here

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  4. Yes on the pay raise and no on the other two

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  5. You forgot the high dollar people that get the raises. The are a lot of them and they are not exempted from the money that should be directed to the classroom. Annother NO!

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  6. By all means, vote to raise those taxes. Just look at what a great and wonderful job the government is doing in educating the children. Things just keep getting better and better as we just keep giving the government mo' money and mo' money. Just imagine what a wonderful education these precious public school kids will get when we give the government even mo' money.

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  7. I will vote no. my household will vote no.
    Them ranks and file teachers deserve pay, but them board and DC can not be trusted with more money.

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  8. Read today's Inquisitor. D.C. Makes $171k plus change. Plus a car. Meanwhile the board suggest that we vote to give a raise because school employees have not had one in 6 Years. Not so for good ol D.C. Who the board gave a raise to while nothing for employees. Look at the rest of the top ten. No wonder they hired Sonja Bell to sell us their load of bunk.

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  9. I spoke to someone who works in the system who said last time they were promised a raise of 4% they got nothing and it all went to central office. They think the same thing will happen again and a large group of employees are voting NO!

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  10. I spoke to someone who works in the system who said last time they were promised a raise of 4% they got nothing and it all went to central office. They think the same thing will happen again and a large group of employees are voting NO!

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  11. With the national economy in the tank and all indications are the Haynesville Shale drilling is slowing down and the rigs are leaving the area, why would anyone with any sense want to jump off into a half billion dollar adventure? Reason, because the leadership in Bossier has no sense.
    When this boondoggle of a tax proposition fails, will Sonja Bailes' position as propagandist still be necessary? The move to hire a propagandist at $120,000 a year, with benefits and a car, shows the school board isn't prudent with the money they do receive.

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  12. Misinformation is rampant! Bailes makes $72K and uses her own car. Likewise, Machen makes $133K and uses his own truck. Machen contract renewed without any raise. He's worked almost 40 yrs., has masters plus 30, so he would make over $100K if he was teacher and not administrator, because of years of service and education. People making these negative comments should attend public forums and get the facts, which are public record. Bossier schools have serious needs to be able to continue to succeed.

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  13. 955 how does his air conditioning work? Or how about his health care paid package or retirement. Im sure those are all things that are openly discussed at public forums. A man with a masters plus should be able to not let anything get by him. We should feel all warm and fuzzy inside dont ya think.

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  14. Thankfully the salaries were just published. I assume pursuant to a FOI request to the school board. Sonja Bailes "total salary amount" is $98,134. Doswal Machen, Jr is $171,993.

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  15. Taxes kill industry! And no problem has ever been solved by throwing money at it. These brilliant people on the school board have called this election at a time when we don't even know what the state is going to do in their education reform. As it stands now, the more money that the local school boards get from local taxation, the less money they get back from Baton Rouge.

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  16. Anon @ 11:55, I guess "Misinformation is rampant!" Maybe some people are misinformed, but I believe your "misinformation" was propaganda proven wrong.

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  17. Please, if there are any public school teachers in Bossier Parish making over $100,000, would you kindly let us know? I don't know of any teachers that make half that much, even with a Master's degree.

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  18. NO! Sick of property taxes

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  19. "misinformation?". As far as I know the highest education available is a PHD. Dr. Barrett who applied for the job as superintendent but who didn't even make the top three cut makes only $83,806 according to public records as a principal. So much for someone with a plus 30 making over $100k. What about the misinformation about school gyms needing new A.C. Units when the schools didn't even have a gym.

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  20. Yes, this governmental organization has a long history of waste and allowing public funds to be stolen, and if the voters of Bossier Parish are stupid enough to vote them even more tax money, then we deserve the robbery and rape we are in for.

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  21. Also researched last years salaries. DC went from 137,911 to 171,993. How is this not a raise? And insofar as driving his own car he still gets a car allowance not included above. Typical "misinformation"

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  22. anonymous 5:55 you are "misinformed", do any of you bloggers have a public education teacher who made a difference in your life? Support public educators who make a difference in the lives of our children everyday!

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  23. If I am "misinformed" it is from public information provided by the bossier parish school board.

    Sadly, this has nothing to do with public educators who make a difference in the lives of our children. Many of the deserving public educators will vote for the tax hoping to receive a crumb from the table of the bureaucracy of the Bossier Parish School Board, only to see the money go to central office or buildings built as monuments to the board.

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  24. I have a question, Jim. Whenever they say they are going to raise 9.25 mills, what does that mean? A 9.25 percent increase in my property taxes? I'm not sure what a mill is. Sorry but I'm not used to legal jargon.

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  25. AJ - a mill is 1/10 of a cent.

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  26. AJ copy and paste this link in your brouser and it may help. It is a presentation from the tax assessor.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYR7Zz6xl2c&feature=relmfu

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  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  29. Man, Sonja Bailes really makes a good argument for voting on these three things. I'm considering voting yes on all of them. (not sure yet though)

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  30. You do not need to fully understand what a mill is to evaluate it. Just know as Bossier tax payers we pay roughly 52 mills in school property tax today. State average is about 40. The two new taxes would raise us from 52 to 65. That is roughly a 23^ tax increase on school taxes. Hope that helps.

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  31. Yeah, Sonja Bailes is being paid a big salary to disinform the public and disseminate propaganda to get this giant tax increase passed. She is good at it, too, and she just might be successful with people being so gullible and willing to be fleeced.

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  32. As an employee of BPSB,we ask you to vote your convictions and also thank you for your support. If you are totally againt school structures being built, vote no, if you are opposed to teacher pay raises, vote no. We will continue to educate your children with every day engaging activities and learning experiences. However, we do need your absolute support for technology. Please vote yes for this issue. BEEF monies are legislated for classroom improvements and cannot be used for technology infrastructure-we write grants and are award for those efforts; however, the supports for running the latest and greatest computers, ipads, Smart boards, etc. and associated software for your childs education as still bogged down due to "antiquated" infrastructure. Blackboards and chalk do not meet the needs of our technology savvy students and parents alike. You are welcome to visit any school in Bossier Parish and see the technology enhancements we have for your children and their educational experience. Vote yes for the absolutly neededtechnology referendum.

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  33. Finally a comment from a BPSB employee thinking about our children. This employee changed my no vote to a yes.

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  34. Funny how your comment came just five minutes after the previous. Still "no" here. I still don't trust D.C. Like I said before, get rid of him and I'll vote yes.

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  35. Bossier chamber released a press statement this AM opposed to tax proposal. Go to Bossier Press website. Great article.

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  36. Sonja Bailes' salary and D.C.'s raise would have paid the salaries of 3 teachers.

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  37. This is all absurd! I am a BP teacher and all of the bashing of Mr. Machen and Sonja Bailes is uncalled for! None of you could do his job and what he has to put up with. You could not even handle running a classroom full of 25-30 children for one day! Unless you have taught in a classroom, been FULLY educated on the propositions, and actually know how Bossier Parish Schools are run, then you really shouldn't waste your time commenting. You really don't know what you are talking about! It makes me sad to think that you believe our teachers aren't good enough for a pay raise. Bossier Parish teachers are awesome. Our students and the teachers deserve the best! As for my household, we voted YES!

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  38. My NO vote cancelled your yes vote !!

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  39. @anon 9:45
    Bossier Parish educators are good. However, the parents in Bossier Parish make the Bossier Parish school system awesome. Further, most of the awesome parents are also property owners and oppose an increase.

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