The Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal this morning upheld the April 21, 2012 Bossier Parish School Board Election.
Bossier attorney John Settle filed a lawsuit in district court June 20 asking that the April 21 election be thrown out, but 26th Judicial District Jeff Cox, before whom Settle argued, on June 26, ruled in favor of the Bossier Parish School Board, saying Settle failed to prove his case.
Settle asked that the election for a tax renewal and two new property taxes to fund school projects, be overturned - though only the renewal was passed - due to public funds and employees being used to campaign for the election.
Cox wrote that the plaintiffs 'failed to carry their burden," and ruled in favor of the defense. The Second Circuit concurred.
Three issues were addressed in the April 21 election : a tax renewal of a 13.55 mills ad valorem tax to fund $210 million in new construction; a new 9.25 mills property tax to fund new staff raises; and a new 3.6 mills property tax for technology equipment.
Of the three, only the tax renewal passed.
The suit - which listed both Settle and Bossier resident Kathy Condon as plaintiffs -
claimed public funds were used to pay for billboards, and T-shirts promoting the election; used public employees to send emails to parents of children attending Bossier schools regarding the election; urging employees to vote and solicit votes from their friends, families and organizations; using the school board website to promote the election; and advising the public through the media, emails and mailings that the 'tax renewal' would not be a new tax.
Before doing so, however, Cox three of the grounds listed in the suit - those claiming public funds were used in promoting the election - writing that use of public funds in such ways (i.e. purchasing billboards, T-shirts, etc.) are criminal matters that cannot be entertained in a civil action.