CPSB rejects funding for Cove Lane project - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

CPSB rejects funding for Cove Lane project

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

The Port of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury have already agreed to use future riverboat casino proceeds to help fund the I-210 Cove Lane project.

But these are only two of the many local entities being asked to help fund it.

The Calcasieu Parish School Board was also asked by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to enter into the cooperative endeavor agreement.

DOTD is asking local agencies to contribute money to help fund the project at $4 million per year for the next five years.

The CPSB's chunk of that $4 million is about $2 million, something the board members said is not only too much money, but it should be spent on education in the parish.

"Not to sound negative, it's just we're in the education business and committing to giving up that type of funding is very difficult for us. That's why I can't support it," CPSB board member Joe Andrepont said.

Other board members agreed.

"If we're charged with doing what we can in the classroom, I don't think this is going ... would be wise for us to do," board member Billy Breaux said.

Board member Mack Dellafosse said with that amount of money each year, it could be used to fund pods, or classrooms, for the schools that need them.

"That's a lot of extra rooms that we could be building, so I couldn't support the motion," Dellafosse said.

A unanimous vote across the board ruling against entering into the funding agreement and Superintendent Wayne Savoy wasn't surprised by the board's vote.

"This board is going to use as much money as they can for education purposes," Savoy said.

And spending $2 million each year for the next five years to help the Cove Lane project doesn't seem to make sense, said board members. Savoy said the future casino revenue could really help out the school system.

"We've used riverboat money that we've received to build over 350 classrooms. We've replaced temporary buildings. We've put pods in places and we've helped schools in areas where a bond issue wasn't really a reality," Savoy said.

"And so we're going to do everything we can as a last resort before we touch the classrooms," Savoy continued.

Savoy said the school board would like to use the future riverboat funds toward new school innovations.

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