The community education plan committee for Lafayette Parish Schools shifted gears Monday. Instead of focusing on facility needs the committee was asked to direct their attention to voters.
Funding a facilities plan is not an easy undertaking. Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper believes it takes effective planning, preparation and voters who understand what needs to be done. "I think it's time to be really square. If you want this community to be vibrant, than the media has to take part in building that up," says the superintendent.
Dr. Cooper says professional estimates show about $275 million should be enough to get Lafayette Parish schools where they need to be.
That figure doesn't count the new schools that will be need as the population grows. Dr. Cooper is comfortable with saying it at least catches us up. "We're going to have somewhere between 11, 12, 15,000 students. Where are we going to put them," says Cooper.
The superintendent reminded committee members that the wait is over. By the time Lafayette Parish wakes up it may be too late and the public needs to know that.
"So, you can talk about you don't want to face this issue of not having a tax next year. If you don't, I may as well go sit down and you may as well go sit down; because you're going to be on that cliff and that's based on 42 years of experience. I have seen it happen over and over again," adds Cooper.