Letters
Letters for 04-20-2017

Vote early on school taxes
There is no way to measure such, but the
presidential election Americans endured may
well be the most stressful ever on those asked
to elect the leader of our country.
Just as your senses may have reset after
election overload, voters in Union Parish are
being asked to go back to the polls April 29
to consider two property taxes that provide
$720,000 annually for maintenance of school
facilities. Voters are being asked to extend the
taxes for a 10-year period.
Early voting for the election continues
through Saturday at the Registrar of Voters,
located in the Union Parish Courthouse
Annex at 303 E. Water Street in Farmerville.
Voters must bring a photo ID that includes
their signature to cast ballots between 8:30
a.m. and 6 p.m.
The tax proposals – one for 2.98 mills and
the other for 1.64 mills – provide revenue
needed to provide maintenance at Union
Parish Elementary School, the soon-to-be
completed new Union Parish High School and
Downsville Community Charter School. For
parish schools, the taxes mean an additional
$375,000 in state money. For D’Arbonne
Woods and Downsville, the amount of aid is
$202,000 and $87,000, respectively. A small
percentage of the funds also follow students
from Union Parish that attend charter schools
based in Lincoln and Claiborne parishes.
They are also part of the equation used
by the Board of Elementary and Secondary
Education to determine how much state
money the Union Parish School System
and both D’Arbonne Woods and Downsville
charter schools receive. BESE bases the
funds it allocates for each parish based
on the amount of tax dollars generated for
educational purposes within each parish.
In 2014, parish voters gave their OK to
a 13.5-mill tax that has funded $42 million
in renovation and construction projects.
Approval of the renewals is essential to
maintaining the investment Union Parish
voters chose to make in the future of the
education it provides students.
Union Parish Schools superintendent
George Cannon says loss of the revenue
would force the system and likely the charter
schools as well to make the significant
adjustments in current operations.
Though there are just two items for voters
to consider, this election is vitally important.
The decision of voters will impact the course
schools in Union Parish for years to come.
Early voting was created by state
lawmakers to make it convenient. You may
experience a brief wait, but lines typically
move faster and are usually shorter than
those that form at polling places on Election
Day.
Through the option of early voting, voters
have a convenient way of participating
in what former Notre Dame University
president Theodore Hesburgh said is “a civic
sacrament” — making your voice heard at
the ballot box.