March 10, 2017 04:45 PM

The Lafayette Public Education Stakeholders Council, a coalition of 16 civic groups and other organizations invested in public education in the parish, has come out strongly in favor of the Lafayette Parish School System’s proposed .5 cent sales tax proposition for school facilities on the April 29 ballot.

The group released statement that reads, in part:

PSS has put forth a sensible measure, one we can afford and we should support. A clear plan has been detailed of how to prioritize and tackle the most immediate needs first. Moneys would be spread around parish schools for equitable distribution to all parts of our community. This tax measure cannot fix everything, but it will be a significant step in the right direction.

Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, executive director of the Acadiana Center for the Arts who serves as chair of LaPESC’s Public Policy Committee, tells The IND investing in public education, regardless of whether one has children in the system, is an investment in Lafayette.

“I want to live in a community that is well-educated because that makes it a place worth living. I think this country as a whole and Acadiana in particular has always stood for the greater good. Building community takes more than protecting your own self-interest,” Wuestemann says. “From a pure economic standpoint, this small tax measure, while creating a burden for all of us, is a very small burden but it creates an extraordinary investment in the economic wellbeing and future of this parish. So I think if you’re thinking not in years but in decades, the small burden that we’re encountering now will turn into a tremendous asset over time — for all of us.”

On Monday, The IND Lecture Series presented "State of the LPSS" at which Lafayette schools superintendent Dr. Donald Aguillard and others made the case for the tax proposition. Read more about the event here.

The full LaPESC statement in support of the tax: