Orleans School board member: Schools in need of increasing millage tax rate

Orleans School board member: Schools in need of increasing millage tax rate

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Property owners have been grappling with what to do about high home assessments from the assessor’s office, and it all ultimately boils down to taxes.

Right now, citizens don’t need to worry, as most millages have not rolled forward. Rolling forward would adjust the millage rate as set by the tax assessor’s office, and essentially cost taxpayers more money.

If leaders didn’t roll the millages forward, revenue from the millages would stay about same. One of the highest costs that taxpayers shoulder is the public school system. But, according to Orleans Parish School Board member Woody Koppel, it’s a cost worth paying.

“It’s expensive to run schools we run almost 50,000 kids in the city that need to be educated and that’s where the money comes from, it’s not free,” Koppel said.

Koppel said he’s been fielding calls, emails and texts already, from concerned citizens, about the board voting to roll the school board millage forward.

“As taxpayer, and a taxpayer with significant tax burden, I totally understand that situation. But to see our way in this city and state to go to greater prosperity, is to increase our public school system,” Koppel said.

The school board will take up increasing the millage next month. According to a statement, if the board votes to roll that millage forward, it will mean an additional $3.1 million dollars for Orleans Parish schools.

“Ninety-eight percent of the revenue flows to all of those schools," Koppel said. “Unfortunately, this is something that will be a reality, and traditionally the city has always rolled forward, for whatever reason.”

Koppel said between now and the September board meeting, they’ll continue to listen to citizens as well as interview school principals and teachers about their needs. But as much as Koppel said he understands the hefty check taxpayers may have to write, he says education shouldn’t be forced to scrape together dollars.

“A well-educated child is a child that’s not spending time on the street," Koppel said. “Wouldn’t we rather spend that money into a child then into the jail?”

Koppel said one year, the board voted not to roll the millages forward. He said that year, they were met with equal outcry to roll the millages forward, and later did so.

The school board meeting is scheduled for September 26.

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