SCHOOL CROSSING GUARDS: GOREE-C.P.S.B. vs. PERKINS, COUNCIL
Friday, May 10, 2019 … 1:40 P.M.
As we saw again last Saturday, the Caddo Parish School Board and Superintendent Lamar Goree are somehow able to control what much of our traditional news media outlets might otherwise report about them.
(Given that CPSB has more of our money to throw around than many of us can fathom – it reports $492,000,000 available to spend for 2018-2019 alone – we can see how that might be accomplished.)
Be that as it may, a behind-the-scenes fight with other taxers-and-spenders occasionally pops into public view. Such may soon be the case as Mayor Adrian Perkins and the Shreveport City Council tee it up with Goree-CPSB.
At issue are the crossing guards working at our many Shreveport schools.
Adding substance to the dispute is that the City has a fresh $6,000,000-ish a year to spend from its new garbage tax, and Goree-CPSB just scored $88,300,000 with its new property tax.
Notably, Goree-CPSB did not offer an estimated yearly take of new money from its tax. The existing one was about to expire, so rather than give already tax-pummeled locals a break, Goree-CPSB “re-purposed” the millage as necessary to keep it on the books for another 20 years. (SEE Links #1 and #2 below.)
Mayor Perkins wants Goree-CPSB to pay for school crossing guards, costs which hit the Shreveport Police Department budget for just over $271,000 in 2018, paying for guards at 81 school intersections.
Goree-CPSB pay $12,500 a year.
Perkins, the City Council and SPD want the school system to assume these costs (over time), as is the case in other cities, New Orleans and Tyler, as examples.
The current practice of SPD footing this bill traces all the way back to the late 1980s. While there is no contract in place, Police Chief Ben Raymond is now working on one.
Given that fact, City Councilman Grayson Boucher, also Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, has taken the lead in trying to hammer-out an agreement.
After Goree wrote a letter to Boucher summarily declaring all these expenses to be the City’s – period – Boucher invited CPSB members to meet with his City Council Public Safety Committee for a real (and public) discussion.
None of them showed.
More than merely frustrated, Mayor Perkins has summarily directed his go-to Council member, Chairman Jerry Bowman, Jr., to put the matter on the City Council agenda.
Just as Goree slammed the door in the City’s face, Perkins has not met with any CPSB folks.
With rare exception in such matters, Goree and the CPSB function in tandem. That is much less the case with Perkins and the Council, with current Council members more independent.
The public looks to the two governmental entities to work together in solving this dispute. It is about the safety of our children, after all.
The typical our-way-or-the-highway heavy-handedness from and by Goree-CPSB will be all the more unacceptable given the system’s legal and other abuses in passing its property tax … not to mention the resulting haul of our money.
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My sincere thanks to Sara Mcneil at The Times for her work on this issue.
© 2019 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
1. Elliott Stonecipher, April 5, 2019:
2. Elliott Stonecipher, May 4, 2019: