PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. -- The Pulaski County Special School District is turning to voters this November for the annual renewal of the District’s 40.7 mill school tax.
In addition to its annual renewal of the mill school tax, the District is asking Pulaski County voters to also approve the restructuring of three existing bonds. This restructuring, or refinancing, of existing bonded debt, will open nearly 80 million dollars to fund various building projects.
Voters will not see any change in their taxes whether they vote for or against the annual mill school tax. Voting in favor of the ballot issue will restructure existing bonds from November 1, 2012; March 15, 2016; and August 1, 2017. Funds will be generated by the restructuring of the 3 bonds. This will, in turn, open nearly $80 million for facilities upgrades across the District. On the other hand, voting against the issue means that everything, including the current tax rate, will remain the same without improvement to any building facilities.
“We have a unique opportunity,” said PCSSD Superintendent Dr. Charles McNulty, “to fund a number of large projects for our District and have a zero tax-impact on voters. In 2017, voters approved an extension of the current millage rate to fund all PCSSD bonds. This year we are asking voters for permission to restructure 3 bonds, which will free up the funds for master plan projects. It’s a perfect storm that will benefit our students and staff tremendously.”
A six-year master plan proposes the following improvement projects, if the bond issue is approved:
- Mills University Studies High School: multi-purpose facility; $15 million
- Robinson High School: expansion to increase enrollment to 1,500 students; $35 million
- Maumelle High School: indoor practice facility, softball field, and baseball field; $11 million
- Sylvan Hills High School: band room; $1 million
- Baker Elementary School: expansion to increase enrollment to 700 students; $5 million
- Harris Elementary School: modifications and facility improvements; $3 million
- College Station Elementary School: modifications and facility improvements; $3 million
- District lighting upgrades: interior and exterior lights will be upgraded to LED lighting across the District which will save approximately 33% on electricity costs annually for the District; $2 million
- New Northwest Transportation Pound: $4 million
- District Integration: if additional funds are available upon completion of all other projects, new integration software to align fire safety, access control and cameras all in one will be installed; $1 million
“Other schools in the district will also benefit from the passage of this issue because operating funds will become available to address needs as they arise,” said Dr. McNulty. “Residents are likely to also see an increase in their property values as their local schools see improvements. This is a win for our students and our community!”
Early voting is October 26 - November 1 at the main site located at the Pulaski County Regional Building. There are additional early polling sites across Pulaski County that are open October 26 - October 29 (check the Pulaski County Election Commission website for all locations). Election day is November 2 at standard voting centers across the county.