CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Back in November Calcasieu Parish voters said no to four out of the five school bonds. So the school board's response was to approve $50 million out of the general fund for capital improvements.
That left some residents questioning the decision, and school board member Eric Tarver has an explanation.
Tarver says this was another way to try and fix much needed repairs on schools, and while it might seem like a lot of money, it won't replace the $200 million they asked for during last year's bond election.
Tuesday the Calcasieu Parish School board approved $50 million from the capital budget for upgrades and renovations to schools across the parish.
Once word got around many residents online were upset with the decision.
Kathy Derouen wrote "this is why I vote no on taxes. They always seem to find the money after the tax issues fail. Simply amazing."
Kay Miller said "if the school board has an extra 50 million, then why did we just vote on a new bond tax?"
"30, 40, 50 million dollars that we spend out of the general fund is not going to replace the $200 million that we need to spend in bond elections," said Tarver.
Tarver explained that after many residents voted down most of the bond proposals in the November elections throughout the parish, the school board had to come up with another way to fund capital projects on a smaller scale.
"This money is not going to build any shiny new buildings," he said. "It's not going to alleviate any major crowding problems. We are going to do some of the things that really sort of irritate people which is bathrooms that look run down, roofs that leak, those kinds of things."
Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus explained that the money would be distributed by how many students a district has versus where most of the money is actually raised.
"$1,517 per student is what it breaks down to when I divide our total students into the $50 million," he said. "So those districts that have more students get more money."
Residents in North Lake Charles approved their bond so they will get that plus a portion of this $50 million as well.
Because this money can't solve the bigger needs for schools across Calcasieu Parish, Bruchhaus says bond proposals will come back up in the future.
"Ultimately those bond issues are the only way we build and do major repairs on schools," he said. "That's a fact and that's not going to change. So it's going to happen, we're going to have to go back and ask."
Bruchhaus said once they use this money around $35 million will still be left in the general fund.
Tarver says they would like input on what smaller capital projects could be fixed throughout schools across the parish. If anyone is interested in giving feedback they are encouraged to contact their school board member for their district.
Bruchhaus says they will start utilizing that money on schools beginning in the summer.