Baton Rouge school board to consider rejecting all future ITEP requests

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board will consider a resolution tonight that would reject all future Industrial Tax Exemption Program requests, instead earmarking those funds for across-the-board salary increases for school district employees.

Among personnel who would see bigger paychecks: teachers, counselors, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, pupil appraisers, lunchroom technicians and clerks.

Under current state law, ITEP-participating corporations are exempt from paying most of their school property taxes. The resolution would adopt a new school board policy eliminating this practice.

Supporters say the proposal would generate $28 million to $30 million in new revenue for the district. Baton Rouge teacher salaries rank 53rd out of the state’s 69 school districts, according to a Together Baton Rouge press release, and Louisiana ranks 49th in the nation for real decline in teacher salaries since 2010.

Together Baton Rouge regularly voices criticism of ITEP, though chemical industry advocates touted a study last week that found strong ITEP parishes were doing well and had high-performing schools.

The press release says “hundreds” of district employees are expected to attend tonight’s meeting.

Calls made to the school board’s superintendent and communications department were not returned by the time of this story’s deadline.

Read the full resolution here.

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