Friday, June 09, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Millage vote in Sherwood

Residents in the Pulaski County Special School District vote Tuesday to extend its current 40.7 millage rate for 30 more years instead of 17 years. Early voting ends Monday.

This is not a tax increase. Residents will be getting the same tax bill as before if the election succeeds and Sherwood will be getting a new $66.5 million Sylvan Hills High School.

If it fails, they’ll be paying the same taxes for the next 13 years and Sherwood won’t get a new high school.

Already 714 ballots have been cast. Turnout will likely be low.

PCSSD, under the leadership of Superintendent Jerry Guess, has worked hard over the last five years to transform itself. Guess was installed in a state takeover and had to make deep spending cuts to stabilize the district’s financing.

Thanks to him and communities like Sherwood that have demanded better results, there’s hope the district can improve its campuses and boost its academics.

He’s also helped Sherwood plan for a new campus. The construction project calls for at least four new buildings, including a new gym, cafeteria and football field. The current buildings will be remodeled instead of demolished.

Preliminary designs for the school are impressive. The campus was built in the 1960s for 800 students but is accommodating nearly twice that now with a 1,450 student body.

Sherwood homeowners can rest easy: This new campus will bring in a lot of new residents, too, and help grow the community.

Guess was the first PCSSD superintendent to support Jacksonville’s efforts to breakaway and form its own school system. Without that split, PCSSD could most likely not afford to build a new Sylvan Hills High School because Jacksonville’s facilities needs were so dire.