No More Foolin’ for Schoolin’
Brick by current policy does not give political endorsements. Now that the Fayetteville School District’s high school plan is set for a public vote, in about 10 days, all I should do is create a nice neutral analysis. Yawn.
Better: Just lay out some facts, in a smirk-free zone.
The Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009, election — with absentee or early voting beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8 — is to choose up or down: To increase property taxes within the Fayetteville School District by 4.9 mills** to finance construction of a new high school on the site of the current Fayetteville High.
The above paragraph is stated in some form in every news article. (More information can be obtained by searching the Web sites of the two news-gathering organizations: nwanews.com and nwaonline.com.) What voters will see on the ballot, though, does not mention the high school.
Really. It is a summary of where the new tax money will go, in broad terms: You can link, but see it now:
School Millage: 47.8 Mill School Tax: The total rate proposed above includes the uniform rate of tax to be collected on all taxable property in the State and remitted to the State Treasurer pursuant to Amendment No. 74 to the Arkansas Constitution to be used solely for aintenance and operation of schools in the State. The total proposed school tax levy of 47.8 mills includes 25.0 mills specifically voted for general maintenance and operation, 17.9 mills voted for debt service previously voted as a continuing levy pledged for the retirement of existing bonded indebtedness, and 4.9 new debt service mills. The 4.9 new debt service mills plus the 17.9 existing debt service mills, which debt service mills will continue after the retirement of the bonds to which now pledged, will be a continuing debt service tax until the retirement of proposed bonds to be issued in the principal amount of up to $115,825,000 and which will mature over a period of up to 35 years and will be issued for the purpose of erecting and equipping school facilities, and making additions and improvements to existing facilities.The surplus revenues produced each year by debt service millage may be used by the District for other school purposes. The total proposed school tax levy of 47.8 mills represents a 4.9 mill increase over the current tax rate.”
School District officials and School Board members say, according to news reports, that estimates for the project range $110 million to $115 million. The high school would add ninth-graders. The maximum student population would be 3,000. [I’ve found nothing about parking for the increased number of teen drivers or improved street access to smooth traffic congestion.] Officials intend for the structure to be “green,” with LEED Silver certification, which at $350,000 of the $110 million is inexpensive. As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Continue reading