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Centerton Embracing Second High School?

CENTERTON, AR -- Voters will soon be casting ballots for a second high school in the Bentonville School District, and the results could directly impact the City of Centerton.
Millage proposal questions were answered during a forum at Centerton City Hall
Millage proposal questions were answered during a forum at Centerton City Hall
I've seen a lot more support this time than I did last time -- Amy Hessman, Centerton resident
CENTERTON, AR -- Voters will soon be casting ballots for a second high school in the Bentonville School District, and the results could directly impact the City of Centerton.

This is the district's third attempt to pass a millage proposal and a lot is riding on the results. Voters rejected last year's millage proposal prompting significant changes. In this year's millage proposal, the district cut the per household cost in half, eliminated a new football stadium and got rid of upgrades to the current high school. More voters have registered this time around, but if the millage fails the district could lose out on a $13-million grant and the state could intervene.

"The state has the authority by statute to be able to come in and take over the district's finances... They could choose how the building was going to be built and then determine how we would pay it back and they could actually even limit the number of programs that we offer," said Superintendent Michael Poore with the Bentonville School District.

Poore believes the price for this new high school is about as good as it will get. After considering several locations, the proposed plot for the second high school is on Gamble Road in Centerton.

"We hope people understand this is the Bentonville School District which encompasses 142 square miles, which includes Centerton."

The group "Vote Yes for a Second Bentonville High School" hosted a forum at Centerton City Hall Wednesday night. Some parents support the proposal.

"I've got three kids that will be going to Bentonville High School in the next several years and we need a new high school," said Centerton resident Amy Hessman.

For others, the possibility of congested roads is concerning.

"The City of Centerton is actually going to widen Gamble Road to a three lane road which we feel like will take care of a lot of traffic here... We hope to put some traffic lights at different locations," said Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards.

And many feel any traffic they would have to deal with in Centerton, pales in comparison.

"I don't think it will be any worse than J Street."

As for construction crushing the small-town feel, one mom would not mind a change.

"We've lived here for 9 years now, and I would actually like to see some more businesses come up here in Centerton," said Hessman.

But before any changes head to the City of Centerton, voters will have the final say.

"I've seen a lot more support this time than I did last time."

"It's good for the district, not just the City of Centerton, but school district," said Mayor Edwards.

Early voting for the millage election starts September 10 and Election Day is September 17.

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