A $561 million general obligation bond program to fund long-term maintenance efforts presented last week to the Lafayette Parish School Board would require a 20-year, 2-mill increase in the property tax. The trustees have until Wednesday  to set a tax election for Oct. 22. They could delay the election until Nov. 19.

Proceeds would be used to carry out recommendations in a master facilities plan developed last year that found $590 million of needed work.

Financial officer Bill Guidry told trustees the school district has lowered the cost of the long-term plan by correcting some of the maintenance problems.

A separate proposal on the ballot would increases the tax rate by a total of 5.4 mills to also provide funding for a district-wide pre-kindergarten program.

The planning panel had recommended the ballot proposal include specific provisions earmarking the bond proceeds for maintenance projects and maintaining a committee to oversee the district’s efforts. However, those provisions are not included because Louisiana law limits bond ballot questions to 400 words.

The district has no outstanding GO bonds. Its $8 million of debt supported by sales tax revenue is rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

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