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Early voting for school proposals begins tomorrow

Friday, April 12, 2024
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Early voting for the April 27 school tax referendums in the Ruston and Choudrant school districts will begin Saturday at the Lincoln Parish Registrar of Voters Office, located on the ground floor of the courthouse.

The voting period continues through April 20, excluding Sunday. Voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Voters should bring a photo ID, such as a valid driver’s license.

Here’s a look at the what’s on the ballot.

Ruston proposal

The Lincoln Parish School Board is asking voters in the Ruston School District No. 1 to approve a $17.5 million capital project package and accompanying five-year property tax extension.

The board wants to issue bonds to finance athletics, security and other upgrade projects at Ruston High School and Ruston Junior High School.

If voters approve the bond issue, the board will extend an existing 16.75-mill property tax in the Ruston district for an additional five years at the same rate to pay off the bonds.

If rejected, the tax would not come off the books immediately but would be levied at progressively smaller rates starting this year.

The Ruston school district is not just the city of Ruston but extends out from the city limits northwest and northeast in something like a “V” shape.

The biggest chunk of the proposal is $12.2 million for athletics upgrades at RHS, headlined by a $5 million covered pavilion with a turf field that would be used by most sports as well as the band and cheer team.

Other athletics projects:

  • Renovations to the softball team’s old field on Bittersweet Avenue in order to move the team back there and out of the Ruston Sports Complex — $3.5 million
  • Repairs and renovations to the baseball field — $2.2 million
  • Gym renovations for boys and girls basketball dressing rooms — $1.5 million

Another $2.45 million would go toward security upgrades at the high school and junior high: secured entrances, additional gates and fencing, and advanced body scanners that can detect weapons and other banned items.

Roof repairs at RHS would cost another $1 million, while parking expansions at both schools would run a combined $630,000.

Lastly, $900,000 would be spent on activity buses that would be shared among all schools in the Ruston district.

Choudrant proposal

The school board is also seeking passage of a $2 million bond proposal in the Choudrant school district.

If voters in that school zone approve the bond issue, the board will extend an existing 14-mill property tax for an additional seven years to pay back the bonds.

The funds would be used to build classroom and restroom additions at Choudrant Elementary School and an open-space multipurpose building for Choudrant High School.