The Little Rock School District Board held a work session today to begin discussing asking voters to extend the LRSD millage. The working plan is put this to voters on November 2.
The administration has proposed asking voters to extend the LRSD’s debt service mills for 19 years, which would allow the district to restructure bond issues to raise between $222 million and $300 million for capital projects. Little Rock property owners pay 46.4 mills (.1 percent of assessed value of property). That rate hasn’t changed in some 20 years, according to district leaders, and wouldn’t under this plan.
You can see the presentation that outlines the initial proposal here.
The biggest ticket item on the district’s outline of “must do” expenditures is the construction of a new K-8 campus at the former home of McClellan High School. The estimated cost is $85 million. The new school would bring in the students who now attend Cloverdale Middle School and Baseline and Meadowcliff elementary schools.
The district has committed to building the school as part of a legal settlement.
On the district’s “hope to do” list is a new West Little Rock High School, but without any cost projections.
LRSD Superintendent Mike Poore said he thought it could be a boon to the district, but conceded the board and the school community would likely have a variety of opinions on it.
“I really believe that is something, when you look at the number of kids we have in the West Little Rock area, and how many kids we’re losing to Robinson … I think we could bring those kids back and some private school kids back. That increased enrollment could really help our district.”
Board member Jeff Wood, a longtime advocate for a West Little Rock High School, made an impassioned push for the board to embrace a plan for a new high school. He described a West Little Rock High School as the most “unmet need” for the district, citing the huge enrollment at Roberts Elementary and Pinnacle View Middle School.
“West Little Rock is starving for traditional public education to be nearby,” he said.
Community meetings on the proposal are coming soon.