CADDO PUBLIC SCHOOL TAXES + POOR PERFORMANCE = GRADE D

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CADDO PROPERTY OWNERS PAY HIGHEST PUBLIC SCHOOL TAXES IN LOUISIANA; RESULTING SCHOOLS GARNER PERFORMANCE SCORE OF “D”

Almost exactly a year ago, on December 5, 2010, many of you read the first in a four-part series of my reports on how infamously high property taxes are for Shreveport and Caddo Parish homeowners.

Schools in trouble!

(A related Louisiana Public Broadcasting story can be viewed by clicking on this You Tube link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8xQuus6yQ4.  Later, in June of this year, I followed-up with another report on the subject of Caddo Parish School Board taxes, a .pdf version of which is attached to this e-mail.)

In my December 2010 analysis, I purposely compared Shreveport / Caddo property tax millages with the nine other cities and parishes which are Louisiana’s ten-largest based on population.  Any readers who were involved in this past Spring’s bond issue push by Mayor Cedric Glover may remember how loud and over-the-top were the attacks on my research.  ‘Long story short, many people swimming deep within the mayor’s political tank decried the facts, and some continue to do so.  (Not one of these, for the record, has yet come forward with promised “evidence” proving the research incorrect.)

Regardless of the very loud naysaying from these in Shreveport’s political cheap seats, the numbers did not lie then, and they don’t lie now.  To underscore that fact, and to put the discussion in the specific context of huge tax levies from the Caddo Parish School Board, Scott Hughes, Executive Director of the Alliance for Education (http://alliance4education.com/index.php) has written this op-ed for this morning’s Shreveport Times (read here), and The Times has added its own editorial on the subject (read here).

My original research focused on the combined property taxes paid by Shreveport residents – i.e., City of Shreveport, Caddo Parish School Board, and those taxes levied by “All Other Caddo Parish” government entities like the Caddo Parish Commission, Caddo Assessor, Sheriff, etc., etc. – but today’s articles from Scott Hughes and The Times focus only on our Caddo Parish School Board taxes.

A couple of headline points on this subject are these:

(1)  Of the seventy (70) public school (taxing) districts in Louisiana, Caddo’s property tax mileage is the highest.  (There is a reference in The Times piece to a millage total of 75.88 mills, but the millage shown on our just-received property tax notices is 78.20 mills.  My earlier research cited that millage, too.)

(2)  Caddo’s sales tax dedicated to schools is 1.50%, and the state average is 1.98%.  Here is a list of some other of the relatively few parishes which, like Caddo, add a 1.50% sales tax on top of public school property taxes.  (Note as you compare that the Caddo Parish public school system gets a “D” in Louisiana Department of Education grading.)

a.  Avoyelles Parish (graded “D”) 14.13-mill property tax:  Caddo Parish homeowners pay a millage 453.4% higher.
b.  Acadia Parish (graded “C”) 31.49-mills:  Caddo homeowners pay 148.3% higher property taxes.
c.  Rapides Parish (graded “C”) 49.65-mills:  the CPSB millage charged to parish homeowners is 57.5% higher.
d.  Orleans Parish (graded “B”) 41.26-mills:  Caddo residents who own homes pay 89.5% higher property tax.
e.  Vermilion Parish (graded “C”) 39.16 mills:  CPSB millage charged to homeowners is 99.7% higher.

There is no longer a way around a long-known fact:  the existing Caddo Parish public school system cannot continue in its present form.  Its replacement may ultimately require a taxpayer revolt by which new tax levies and tax renewals are serially defeated by voters, but such need not be.  Local control of public schools – and accountability to the taxpayers by school system officials – remain our need and that of our children and grandchildren.  The best way to restore those critical attributes is known …

… it is past time to break this system into independent school districts (ISDs), as has so successfully been accomplished in East Baton Rouge Parish in recent years.

Elliott Stonecipher

Evets Management Services, Inc.
6658 Youree Drive
Suite 180, #367
Shreveport, LA  71105
Phone:  318-424-1695

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