Livingston Schools asks for a half-BILLION dollars!?


Sometimes we stumble into that realm of all things everyone should be hearing about but aren’t. Last week, we put out a quick article about the Livingston Parish School system’s new 1¢ sales tax. The amount of effort they’re throwing at this tax is over the top, “try-hard mode” stuff. However, what they aren’t reminding you about is troubling.

Yes, Livingston just passed a 1/2¢ school tax not even a year ago

Full page ad promoting the School Tax

On April 30th, of 2022 (not even a year ago), all it took was a measly 363 voters in Livingston parish to increase sales tax in “district 24” by 1/2¢. The estimated amount to be collected is an additional $300,000 per year. While most taxes last ten (10) or maybe twenty (20) years, this tax was marked “perpetual.” That means it never comes before voters again. Your great-great-great grandchildren will be paying for a tax that only 111 people (the margin of victory) levied upon them a hundred years before. Remember, sales taxes are based on percentages – not hard dollars. With bidenflation rolling in, who knows how much that $300,000 will be in a few years.

We’ll call that 2022 tax a trial balloon for the bigger one, to take place in March of 2023. That time has now come. According to the ballot lanuage, this new tax is “reasonably expected” to extract $24 MILLION from Livingston’s economy in the first year alone. The tax lasts twenty (20) years before it comes before voters again. The simple math on that is $480 MILLION – or nearly a HALF-BILLION DOLLARS! However, once we’ve accounted for twenty years of inflation, it’ll be well over the half-billion mark. Add to this, increasing sales tax is a major inflation contributor.

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How much money do they need?

The standard answer to that question is simply: “MORE!” According to their latest annual audit report (page 26), Livingston Parish Schools already brings in $76,493,167 in sales tax revenue. This estimated $24 million increase would bring the total revenue up to over $100 MILLION! That’s a HUGE thirty-one percent (31%) increase! But, historically speaking, how much has Livingston Schools already raised your taxes over the last ten years?

Just ten years ago, the total sales tax revenue for Livingston Schools was $30,880,442. Today’s revenue ($76,493,167) is a one-hundred and forty-eight percent (148%) increase! If this tax passes, the increase since 2011 will be an astonishing two-hundred and twenty-five percent (225%)! Similarly, the ad valorem (property) tax in the same period went from $15,272,854 to $19,605,461. That’s another 28% increase! Going back twenty years shows the sales tax revenue alone has increased over three-hundred precent (300%).

Who benefits?

Livingston School System celebrates Amanda Jones, who sued to censor our first amendment right to free speech.

The ballot language reads, “additional funding for salaries and benefits of school system employees in the public school system.” Page 112 of their latest annual report shows that Superintendent Alan “Joe” Murphy makes $189,111 in total compensation. Would this raise increase his income?

Similar questions are coming forward about the School System celebrating their Librarian, Amanda Jones. Last year, Jones (a paid bureaucrat of the school system) sued Citizens for a New Louisiana. She asked a judge to block us from speaking out on the erotica we were finding in the Livingston Public Library children’s section. That kind of lawsuit is called a SLAPP, or Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. It’s censorship. The Judge agreed with us (twice) that a court of law should not be used to censor anyone’s free speech.

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Jones has reported to her social media followers that since December of 2022 she’s being paid to not show up at work. While still technically employed at the Livingston School System, Jones now has plenty of extra time and resources to travel and speak at library conferences. She also continues to weaponize the courts against Christian Conservatives. In her ongoing efforts to censor us, she’s now attempting to appeal her SLAPP lawsuit that she lost against us twice last year. In something of a bad joke, Jones has also recently co-founded an “anti-censorship” organization. That group is now suing Lafayette Public Library Board President Robert Judge for alleged censorship. You can’t make this stuff up.

Do the school board members get a raise?

Most board members currently get $9,600 in compensation per year. The math works out to $800 per month. The exception is board member Malcolm Sibley, who received $10,800 last year. All that’s on page 114 of their most recent audit.

The process to bring a tax before voters includes seeking approval from the Louisiana Bond Commission. While this request is mostly symbolic, the documentation provided to the bond commission can sometimes be quite interesting. Here’s the Bond Commission agenda item, from December 15th, 2022, meeting:

L22­-284 ­ Livingston Parish, Public Schools Educational Facilities Improvement District

1% sales tax, 20 years, beginning July 1, 2023, additional funding for salaries and benefits of school system employees, including an initial increase to the Board’s salary schedule to be effective July 1, 2023 upon approval of this proposition.

From this, (and the school board meeting minutes) we know that the school board unanimously voted to give itself a pay raise. For clarity, Ms. Kellee Dickerson was absent for that particular meeting. It’s also odd that the School Board minutes record that the vote to request bond commission approval occurred after 5:00pm on March 15th. The Louisiana Bond Commission voted at 8:00am that same day to accept the school system’s request – some nine hours before the request was made.


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