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Pressure Mounts as Bentonville Millage Election Nears

The Bentonville School District is gearing up for another millage election, after making changes since last year's failed proposal.
Getting people to register to vote is first and foremost in our thoughts right now -- Superintendent Michael Poore
BENTONVILLE, AR -- The Bentonville School District is gearing up for another millage election, after making changes since last year's failed proposal.

"If you look at yesterday, today and tomorrow, there's a telling picture that we're a community that's really growing pretty dramatically right now."

Bentonville are welcoming teachers back to school and talking millage.

"Getting people to register to vote is first and foremost in our thoughts right now," said Superintendent Michael Poore with the Bentonville School District.

The newest millage proposal for a second high school sliced $16-million from athletics and cut the household cost by more than half.

"I think that we've got a great solution for the ballot on September 17th."

Without a second school, the current number of students at Bentonville High will grow from 3,900 to 5,106 by 2016.

"We have class size limits... It basically means elongating the day, it basically means possibly having kind of like a split schedule to survive, just because there's only a set number of kids that can be served at a building at one time."

If this millage proposal fails, the district could lose out on a $13-milion state grant.

"That $13-million goes back into the state pot, and then we have to reapply. The chances of us getting that type of money is basically nil."

This is the district's third attempt to pass a millage proposal, putting pressure on the election results.

"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."

Superintendent Poore knows education expectations are high. He believes a second high school is the best solution and hopes voters will cast a ballot in support.

"That's an important citizenship right that we have that people should exercise on this matter."

Everyone who lives in the Bentonville School District can vote in the September 17 millage election. The last day to register is Monday, August 19 and early voting starts September 10.

To register to vote, check out the district's booth at the Benton County Fair or register on the Bentonville School District website or the Benton County website.


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