Bentonville School District Rallies for Millage Increase

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Bentonville will get a new high school if its residents approve a 6.7 millage increase on June 26. The school district says a new facility is desperately needed.

The school has 3,600 students. Bentonville Superintendent Michael Poore says the ideal capacity is 3,300.

"Our hallways are crowded right now,” Poore said. “We are starting to run into some shortage of space in both our performing art rooms and our science rooms and so those things are only going to get worse and intensify as time passes."

If the millage doesn’t pass, Poore says the school may try to use portable buildings or a split schedule.

The 6.7 mil increase would mean about $22 for a $200,000 home.

At one point, the school wanted 10 mils but the district lowered that number.

"Every time that we shrunk it, it's been trying to think how this has the least amount of impact for our community," Poore said.

School board member Travis Riggs says it benefits all residents and the local economy

"I realize the need to keep our schools competitive, keep the facilities in conditions that attract people to our community to put their kids in our schools," Riggs said.

The increase would also help pay for other school building improvements and technology.

"It's going to have an impact on every student in this district. It's not just a high school issue," said Poore.

If the millage is approved, construction for the new high school will start summer of 2013.

To kick off the June 26 millage campaign, the Bentonville Kids Come First Committee will hold a rally on Saturday, April 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The rally will be held at Orchards Park at the corner of NE J Street and NE John DeShields Blvd.

Members of the Bentonville Kids Come First Committee will be on hand to answer questions about the millage and help patrons register to vote.