Friday, February 05, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Why you should support millage

Here’s what happens if the 7.6-mill increase in property taxes on the ballot passes:

The Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District, completely on its own for the first time for the 2016-2017 school year, will begin construction on the first new public school buildings in the area in nearly 40 years—a high school and an elementary—the best remaining building will be remodeled as a middle school and the four other elementary schools will each get a new multipurpose building.

The new high school, which will be on prominent display from Hwy. 67/167, will serve as a beacon proclaiming the city’s faith in its new school district and calling families to settle in the area and stop abandoning Jacksonville for Cabot and other communities and school districts.

Here’s what happens if the millage increase does not pass when the votes are counted after the polls close at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday:

The entire building program will suffer and the school building program will be delayed and scaled back.

The main reason Pulaski County Special School District Superintendent Jerry Guess and Joshua Intervenor attorney John Walker agreed to allow Jacksonville-North Pulaski to detach from PCSSD was so the building program could move forward faster.

Fixing and replacing facilities is the most expensive and one of the most difficult pieces of getting PCSSD—and by extension, JNPSD—declared desegregated and out of federal court after decades.

U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall and court desegregation monitor Margie Powell both found that JNPSD’s school facilities master plan meets requirements of desegregation plan 2000.

Vote for the 7.6-mill tax on Monday in Little Rock—the last day of early voting—or Tuesday, which is Election Day.