ST. HELENA PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) — ‘Stronger schools, safer schools’ is the motto for St. Helena Parish School System right now.
After many events in the last few months, from a deadly shooting inside a campus, and a teacher sick out to emphasize the need for a raise. The school system is bringing back a tax proposal this election that failed in May with hopes there’s a different outcome this time.
“Whether your children attend the school system or not, this is about the community of St Helena Parish,” said superintendent of St. Helena Parish School System, Dr. Kelli Joseph.
According to Joseph, the tax proposal will help with various items, such as an important concern, safety.
“We don’t have any resource officers right now,” Joseph said. “This will definitely provide that layer, those layers of support that we need to make sure that they’re safe every day.”
She adds that right now with the lack of resource officers, the district depends on the rave panic button through the governor’s office, community members to monitor the hallways and campuses, and support from the local sheriff’s department, but the need of resource officers is very needed.
“We do have security cameras and there are some other things that we do have to make sure that our campus is safe. So, but this tax measure will help us to harden it and make it a whole lot better and provide us with more resources that we need to ensure that our kids are safe every day,” Joseph said.
Another need is the raise of salary for educators, which the tax proposal is set to do, said Joseph. She emphasizes the district has a problem with retaining teachers due to the pay, leaving students with a lack of structure that affects their scores.
“You have kids in the classroom that see a teacher and two or three different teachers throughout the year or no teacher at all, it has a great impact on us to providing that support that they need to be successful,” Joseph said.
Now, for the staff in the district who have stayed, she says they are deserving of the pay raise, and hopes the community stands behind the district.
“The teachers who are currently here really go above and beyond every single day for our kids,” Joseph said. “They put up their own money to provide supplies and resources for their classrooms. They come to work every day and beat all of the odds and all of the obstacles, so it’s very important that we show that we respect them and that we appreciate the work that they do by providing them with this support that will give them a living wage, so that they can take care of their families.”
As people get ready to vote, Joseph hopes people will see the tax proposal as an investment for the community and the future.
“The future lies within our children, so we have got to support and invest in them and allow them the opportunity to experience that American dream that we all aspire to have,” Joseph said.
For more information on the proposed tax, click here.