Caddo Parish voters will decide on May 4 whether to renew an existing millage to support public schools.
The renewal does not increase taxes but would allow Caddo to upgrade school buses and security measures.
School officials said one of the most pressing problems is outdated heating and air conditioning systems.
Only 40-percent of Caddo Parish school buses have air conditioning right now and inside the classrooms, it’s even worse. Most systems are decades old and cost the district thousands in constant repairs.
Old AC units plague Caddo Parish schools, especially during August when temperatures skyrocket.
Byrd High School is the largest school in the district, but half the school relies on an old water-controlled airconditioning unit that sometimes leaks and floods classrooms. Besides the constant need for repairs, it just makes the learning environment uncomfortable.
“You don’t notice HVAC until doesn’t work. We just need to provide the best environment we can for our students and that’s what a good HVAC system does,” said Gerald Badgley, principal C.E. Byrd High School.
The superintendent said some systems are the same ones he saw when he attended Caddo Parish schools.
“If I look at the air conditioning systems that are there today it’s the same systems that we opened the building within 1984,” said Dr. Lamar Goree, superintendent Caddo Parish Schools.
They say doing repairs can cost more time and money in the long run because the system is outdated, special parts have to be ordered.
“You have to scavenge for parts and those parts may not exist anymore,” Badgley said.
Goree said the systems have already outlived their life expectancy and upgrades would last another 20 years.
“This is not about things we want, but things we need to function as a school district,” Goree said.
They’re hoping homeowners will approve the renewal so schools can have the AC they need. The millage renewal would allocate 88-million dollars to address critical needs which cost homeowners between one and 13 dollars a year, depending on their home’s value.