For any of you who missed Craig Durrett’s editorial yesterday (Sunday) in the Shreveport Times, please find a few minutes to read it, here.

I’m with Craig on the feeling he attaches to this latest scheme from those running our schools:  it is “infuriating” for taxpayers to continue to be used and abused by this you-can’t-print-’em-enough-money bunch.

It is quite literally the case anymore than if one pays property taxes here, that person is seen as nothing better than a bank account to be serially raided by some of the most selfish and abusive public bodies and public officials anywhere.  The property tax in Shreveport and Caddo should be called a Residence Penalty:  if you live here, and own or are buying a residence, you are always dead in the sights of a huge number of our elected and unelected public officials.

Right now, among all the abusive, tax-them-until-they-move-away public officials and public bodies in Shreveport and Caddo Parish, let’s focus on the latest whacked-out bond issue being considered by the Caddo Parish School Board.  Here is a very shortened list of a few key facts:

(1)  Our Caddo Parish School Board delivers an educational product with a letter-grade from the state of “D,” ALONG WITH property tax rates which are the highest in Louisiana, except for a virtual tie with the 5-school independent district in Zachary.  (Zachary – website here – is an “A” graded district, and has been the top-ranked public school system in Louisiana for seven years.  They pay the tab, and they get educated children in return:  what a deal!!)

(2)  Caddo Parish homeowners are viewed with such absolute disdain by the CPSB that they are about to cram another bond issue down our throats, regardless of the fact that our public school property tax millage of 78.20-mills is

77% higher than in Orleans
75% higher than in Monroe
50% higher than in Bossier
133% higher than in Lafayette
80% higher than in Baton Rouge
66% higher than in Alexandria
…. on and on and on.

Our CPSB and the Zachary district have the highest property tax of the seventy districts in the state.

(3)  Those most abused by the CPSB are homeowners.  Some districts have a higher sales tax dedicated to schools (1.5% in Caddo, 2.0% in some others), but our never-caring and never-thankful school board knows that everyone pays sales taxes:  the game plan here is to beat into submission ONLY those who own or are buying a home

(4)  Some board members now want a downpayment of $134,000,000 on its cockamamie “Vision 2020” plan for the system.  That plan, which would be more appropriately called “Blindness-From-Head-Up-Tail 2020”, is delusional; there’s no other word for it.

Here’s The Deal:   

For the many of you who often contact me and ask what you can do to try to save our hometown and parish, the time has come.  CALL your school board member and tell them the system has abused us enough with this insanity, and you want the Board to vote NO – NO – NO – NO!! –  on putting this bond issue before the voters.  (If there was ever a time to “vote early and often,” this is it.)

The scam being chatted-up by the school board is based on this crock:

“Well, gee whiz, I just don’t think we should make this decision; I think we should let the people decide.” 

Good Lord Have Mercy!  These folks can vote over and over again to run-up the highest cost tab in Louisiana, but now – right when the recession is already taking such a toll, they can’t decide to simply stop the craziness by not putting any more bond issues on any ballot?  Horse-hockey!  They know perfectly well that many who don’t pay property taxes are likely to nail the ones who do, and they know which group is larger.

Don’t misunderstand, I am not – not – arguing for a sales tax increase.  With a grade from the state of “D”, this system needs to be turned off and rebooted … period.  If it’s true, as we so often hear, “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It,” then what do responsible people do when it IS, inarguably, broken?

We fix it.  It’s our system, not theirs, and they have inarguably proven that they can’t fix it.

To fix it, we starve the spending.

We give them no more money

… under any circumstances …

… for anything …

… anytime …

THEN, only then, we build a new public school system for our children with and through ISDs / community school districts.

This gravy train for the Caddo Parish School system must stop – now … at this station.  The relative handful who are getting rich down there with high salaries and fat contracts need to go find a real job, doing real work, with no more raiding of taxpayer bank accounts.

I won’t name the Board members who are about to do this to us – again – at least not now.  (I will say that Steve Riall, Larry Ramsey, Barry Rachal and Curtis Hooks are on record against putting this on the ballot.)  It is best to simply ask each of you to call your school board member, find out from her or him who the serial offenders among the board members are, and do what you can to get them to commit to vote “NO” on this bond issue being put on the ballot!

(Pssstttt.  Hey, Craig.  You’re right; it’s infuriating.  These people are our neighbors, and supposed to be our friends.  What the heck are they thinking?  Should we be angry, or should we be getting them some kind of help?)

Elliott Stonecipher

For any reader who may not know, this and all other such analysis and commentary I forward to you has been done strictly in the public interest.  No compensation of any kind has been solicited, offered or accepted for this work. 

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