Tuesday, February 02, 2016

TOP STORY >> District voting to raise millage

Leader senior staff writer

Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher and Jacksonville North Pulaski School Board president Daniel Gray, big boosters of the 7.6-mill increase to build and repair facilities for the new district, said enthusiasm was running high as early voting began on Tuesday.

Both admit to voting for the measure.

Twice as many people turned out in Jacksonville to vote on the school construction issue as turned out in Little Rock for the first day of early voting for expansion and repair of the Arkansas Arts Center — even though Little Rock has about six-and-a-half times the population.

At the Jacksonville community center, 346 votes had been cast on the issue by 5 p.m. close of the first day’s voting, according to the Pulaski County Election Commission, while only 172 voted on the Arts Center tax increase.

Those are the only two ballot issues in Pulaski County, and no one is eligible to vote on both, said Brian Poe, county director of elections.

Gray said a TV station’s unscientific survey of 10 people at the community center found that all said they had voted for the school-millage increase.

“I’m hearing a lot of positive stuff,” said Gray. “People are excited.”

Fletcher, who held a sign outside the polling place, said he was getting a lot of waves and thumbs up from passers by.

“People know the ball is in our court,” said the mayor.

In September 2014, 95 percent of Jacksonville-area residents who voted, voted to pursue detachment from Pulaski County Special School Districts.

Regardless of the outcome of the tax increase election, weekdays through the Feb. 9 election day, JNPSD will be a totally stand-alone district educating its own kids beginning in August.