The Evangeline Parish School Board last week voted 8 to 5 to ask Ward 1 voters in November to approve a $17.7 million bond issue to build a new high school and renovate an elementary school.

Voters rejected a $28.5 million bond issue in October 2007 and again in July. Proposals for a tax increase to build or repair schools in the Ville Platte area of the parish have failed nine times since 1983.

Unlike the plan voted down by 112 votes in July, the new proposal does not include a new football stadium complex at the new Ville Platte High School. The current stadium will be renovated if voters approve the proposal in the November general election.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a motion after the failed bond election in 2007 asking the federal court to close the predominantly black school and order that a new school be built. The department said the old school is one of the worst in the state.

School Board attorney Bob Hammonds said the Justice Department would not accept a bond plan that did not result in a new high school. Renovation of the facility would not be enough to resolve the situation, he said.

Superintendent Toni Hamlin said a new school has not been built in the area since 1936.

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