Ascension voters face April bond election to build 4 schools

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jan. 19, 2016 at 8:40 a.m.



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GONZALES, La. (AP) — As the Ascension Parish school district looks to an April election on a bond issue, it hopes voters will approve for construction of four new schools.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1Ou10oQ) the school board has gone through cycles of new construction and renovation in recent years in an effort to meet population growth. The district gets between 400 to 600 new students each year.

"The school district is going to keep growing, because it's a great community to live, work and raise your children," said schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol.

The district has approximately 22,000 students, according to State Department of Education data.

In 2005, voters in Ascension Parish approved a $70 million bond issue that was focused on new construction.

The bond issue funded the construction of five new elementary schools. A sixth one was also built with funds that came from surplus sales tax revenues.

In 2009, the school district took a look at the older schools in the district, some more than 50 years old.

"We felt that we couldn't let our existing facilities not be brought up to standards, as well," Pujol said.

A $100 million bond issue passed in 2009 that funded more than 50 projects, most of them now complete and the remainder underway.

The projects, also designed to address overcrowding issues, began to roll out in 2010 with new projects scheduled to begin each year through 2015.

"Just about every older campus received some kind of upgrade," Pujol said.

The 20-year bond proposal on the April 9 ballot is for $120 million that will pay for three new elementary schools and a new middle school as well as preliminary planning — not construction yet — for a new high school.

The primary schools would relieve overcrowding at six schools on the east side of the parish, the fastest-growing area of Ascension Parish.

The new middle school would help relieve overcrowding on the east bank.

There would also be additions and renovations at other schools.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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The Associated Press

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