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Fate of Second High School to Be Decided Tuesday

Bentonville superintendent Michael Poore believes there has been more energy behind the millage election this year, compared to last.

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What a difference a year makes, in terms of millage momentum.

"We've definitely had more people to the polls," says Bentonville superintendent Michael Poore

"We also have had greater contributions to the campaign."

Quite the difference for the school district that's become synonymous with shoulder-to-shoulder traffic.

"There is a, I think, a greater visibility and I do feel like there's a greater energy behind this," Poore says of the millage election.

Tuesday night, the fate of a proposed second high school will be decided.

An option some still say, shouldn't exist.

"It's a really bad solution for a bad problem," says Rick Smith.

Smith, a Bentonville parent, says the new-and-improved tax mill rate that was cut in half for voters this time around isn't an accurate representation of what other costs await.

"It's an entry price, the backside price is going to come to get us," Smith says.

He's referring to operational, maintenance and capital improvement costs.

Expenses Poore says has historically never been included in the district's millage proposals.

"We've had to figure out within our own budgets how to create those operating funds," Poore says.

"You don't just do that the year that it opens. You work towards that over the next three years."

Smith believes if voters choose the second high school route, it can only lead to a fork in the road -- splitting quality, unevenly.

"If it does pass, I sure hope my property doesn't get zoned into the new one because I want to pay my taxes for the 'Cadillac,' the premium high school," Smith says.

"It's our responsibility to offer the same level of programming both for academics, performing arts and athletics that we do at our current high school," Poore says.

Let the ballot battle begin.

"I think it's still a coin toss," Smith adds.

And Poore agrees.

"There are still people undecided."
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