Millage renewal upcoming for school district

Students, teachers and principals were honored at Tuesday night’s parish school board meeting, and School Board Superintendent Ricky Durrett reminded attendees to vote in this month’s millage renewal. 

The three district students of the year – A.E. Phillips fifth grader Avery Dixon, A.E. Phillips eighth grader Melissa Le and Ruston High School senior Jason Willis — were all honored at the meeting. Willis, additionally, was honored for being a National Merit Finalist.

“We have some of the best in the state,” said Brandon Sutherland, communications coordinator, who announced the honorees. “The students we selected were incredible. We had 14 students selected from the schools. To narrow it down to three is tough. It shows a lot about these students.”

Teachers Melane Slocum of Simsboro Elementary, Karla Doss of Simsboro Elementary, Megan Hadley of Choudrant High School and Ashlee Bell of Ruston High School were also congratulated for their work and accomplishments as District Teachers of the Year. A.E. Principal Jenny Blalock and Choudrant High Principal Tony Antley were also recognized.

“We’re very proud of all of you,” said David Gullatt, board president. “We are so appreciative of you.”

Later in the meeting, Durrett mentioned two millage renewals that will come up on the March 26 ballet. The first, Consolidated School District No. 1, will expire after the 2022 tax collection. The proposed renewal rate is 10 mills, which is used to replace school buses, to purchase classroom curriculum and library resources; service school internet; facility improvements; health insurance programs and other items. 

The second, Ruston School District No. 1 — Maintenance and Operations — will expire after the 2023 tax collection. The proposed renewal rate is 2.53 mills, and the revenue collected from this tax currently pays 11 months of utilities for school facilities within the taxing district.

“This is very important for us,” Durrett said. “Its a renewal; it’s nothing new.”

The election will take place Saturday, March 26.

Also, Durrett reported COVID-19 cases were way down district wide, and based on CDC recommendations, masks are now optional on school buses. 

Since COVID-19 cases are down, the Board plans to move its April meeting back to the school board office at 401 S. Farmerville ST.

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