Statement of Business Leaders and Concerned Citizens on the Proposed City of St. George
We, the undersigned business owners and concerned citizens, support the effort to keep Baton Rouge together. We are committed to improving public education in Baton Rouge. But we are opposed to the incorporation of the City of St. George, for three primary reasons.
1) According to an analysis by CPA firm Faulk & Winkler, the proposed St. George City and School District would result in property tax increases of at least 20.5 mils in the proposed St. George area, costing homeowners with a $300,000 home about $720 more per year in taxes.
We do not support a proposal that will lead to substantially higher taxes, merely to duplicate existing government services.
2) The proposed boundaries of the St. George School District would cut off thousands of children from the schools they currently attend. This would result in the displacement of more than 8,000 children from their schools, 91 percent of whom live in the proposed St. George area. Some schools would lose more than 90 percent of their student body. Schools such as Baton Rouge Magnet High would no longer be an option for families living in the unincorporated area of East Baton Rouge Parish and would lose nearly half its student population.
We do not support a proposal that would displace thousands of children from their schools and so dramatically reduce educational options for families.
3) The proposed St. George school district would face a public school capacity shortage of more than 7,000 seats, requiring the immediate construction of between 10 and 12 new schools. The expense and logistics of such a massive school construction effort would be unprecedented for our community and would likely leave many students with no school to attend. Other than rhetorical assurances, the St. George proponents have offered no proposal for how they plan to address this looming school capacity crisis.
We do not support a proposal that fails to account for such a basic need as where our children will attend school.
We believe, in summary, that St. George would increase our taxes, decrease our educational options and harm thousands of our children.
We stand, therefore, opposed to the proposal to incorporate the City of St. George.