Tangipahoa Parish School District 116 officials said they are unsure of how to proceed after 87% of voters recently rejected a $187 million bond-backed plan to upgrade and integrate district facilities.

The plan would have raised taxes to support the bonds needed to fulfill a federal desegregation order. Proceeds would have financed five new schools and renovations at 30 existing facilities.

Trustee Sandra Bailey Simmons said at last week’s board meeting that it is obvious the public does not trust the district’s leaders.

The April 30 election was ordered in March by U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle. He said if voters did not approve the tax increase for the bonds, he might order the tax to be collected.

Charles Patin, the district’s desegregation lawyer, said the next move is up to Lemelle.

Before the election, school officials said that if voters rejected any of the four tax measures, which included almost 30 mills of new property taxes and a new 1% sales tax, none would be collected. All four were handily defeated.

Tangipahoa Parish is located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The district’s general obligation bonds are rated A-plus by Standard & Poor’s.

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