Board retains authority on ITEP applications

Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland (from left), and board members Fred Evans and Charles Strong.

Approval of Industrial Tax Exemption applications in Webster Parish will be in the hands of three local entities rather than the state after members of the parish school board voted unanimously Monday to retain authority to make decisions on those requests.

Board members decided to not seek an additional 30 days to take action on an application, opting instead to move ahead with approval. That action came after board member Charles Strong suggested no delay was necessary.

“Going ahead puts the authority to grant exemptions in the hands of the parish police jury, the sheriff and the school board,” Strong explained. “The state had wanted the authority to approve these, but it needs to remain local.”   

Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) offers attractive tax incentives for manufacturers who make a commitment to jobs and payroll in the state. With local approval, the program provides a five-year, 100 percent property tax abatement and an option to renew for three additional years at 80 percent.

Board members also approved the district’s 2022-23 school calendar which shows students receiving 164 total instructional days. And, due to a shortage of drivers, board members approved allowing school teachers to drive school busses and receive driver pay plus benefits. 

Also at Monday’s meeting, board members approved trips by school personnel and staff to several instructional seminars, and said yes to requests for funding of projects at several schools. 

WPSB Speech Pathologist Sarah Martin is named Employee of the Month for the month of March. The award is sponsored by Taylor and Sons and is presented by Rodney Taylor during Monday’s meeting of The Webster Parish School Board.

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