While state tax collections will eventually spike a bit due to last month’s flooding and the subsequent rebuilding efforts, for the areas that were significantly hit there will actually be a dip in local sales taxes as well because of a lack of available commerce.
So in places like Livingston Parish, not only will the school boards have to spend money restoring schools, they will also get less tax revenue than anticipated.
Lawmakers and lobbyists agree that there may be an opportunity for class-size waivers, but the total number of educational days required cannot be changed.
That said, there could be a major policy debate brewing over easing up on the accountability system.
Here’s the key question: Should displaced students and teachers be taking the same standardized tests as others around the state who have experienced no disruptions?
Next year’s legislative session could play host to answer that question.
In terms of funding, the floods came at a terrible time. The 2016-17 budget reduced public schools by $24 million from last year.
Public school boosters have been quick to point to the fact that vouchers were increased by 14 percent. It’s a signal that there could certainly be competition for recovery dollars if privately run charter schools from Baton Rouge and Lafayette decide to seek tax money for flood-related expenses.