Friday, February 05, 2016

TOP STORY >> Millage vote is critical to new district

Leader senior staff writer

With 1,175 votes already cast, Jacksonville-North Pulaski County School Board President Daniel Gray said he expects the 7.6-mill property tax increase to fund a district-wide building program to pass by the time all votes are counted after polls close at 7:30 Tuesday evening.

“The only question is by how much,” he said. “I have complete faith. This has been decades in the making. When we get our opportunity, we’re going to knock it out of the park.”

He said volunteers carrying signs outside the Jacksonville Community Center polling place are being greeted by thumbs up from passing motorists.


“We’ve got no Plan B,” he said. “Why focus on anything but success?”

With the 228 early votes cast Friday, 1,175 Jacksonville-area voters have been to the polls to be counted on a 7.6-mill increase to fund a new Jacksonville-North Pulaski High School and help fund a new elementary school to replace the Arnold Drive School on Little Rock Air Force Base, according to numbers provided by Pulaski County Election Commission staff Friday.

Anecdotally, lots of people have said they have voted for the measure, but no one will really know until after the polls close.


“We need to go forward and vote for it,” said Alderman James Bolden III, a former Pulaski County Special School District board member. “After all these years paying into PCSSD and getting nothing in return, we need to get our millage passed and our children taken care of locally.”

The Jacksonville Lions Club announced its endorsement of the proposed tax increase that would make way for school improvements to the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District.

“The Jacksonville Lions Club (endorses) the millage increase necessary to move the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District Forward,” said Dianne Williams, president. “This millage will help move the community forward and promote a better quality of life for all residents.”


“We’ve got kids who deserve a good education,” Williams said. “From an economic development standpoint, we’re on the road to a super community.”

Education Corps spokeswoman Laura Walker said that this latest endorsement is among those by several civic groups, business leaders and elected officials in Jacksonville and the surrounding area supporting the millage.


Other groups that have endorsed the increase include:

• Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce

• The Leader

• Jacksonville City Council

• Jacksonville Lions Club

• Jacksonville Sertoma Club

• Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce

• North Pulaski Board of Realtors

• Jacksonville Rotary Club

• Stonewall Homeowners Association

• Jacksonville Museum of Military History

The Jacksonville NAACP has encouraged its members and others to vote on the issue, but stopped short of endorsing it.

On its Facebook page, it wrote, “The Jacksonville NAACP has a responsibility to the citizens of Jacksonville to ensure that EVERYONE is informed. The NAACP believes in fairness for all people and will not endorse either way. If you desire a yard sign please inbox Jacksonville NAACP. God Bless!!”


The Jacksonville-North Pulaski Education Corps will host an election watch party beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Jacksonville Police Department FEMA room at 1400 Marshall Road, according to Walker.

She said it was open to the public and the press.