Alma voters will be heading to the polls Tuesday to decide on a millage proposal to increase school security, a plan that would cost more than $1 million. Some parents support the idea that includes armed guards and other measures, while others think the increase proposal is unnecessary.
“The millage total is 1.2 mill increase,” said Alma School Superintendent David Woolly. “For a person that has a $100,000 house, that would be a tax increase of $24 a year.”
Kevin Cox has one child in school at Alma Middle School. He said money is just too tight to increase taxes.
“That’s kind of our tax money,” said Cox. “Couldn’t we leave some of it in the people`s pocket?”
Woolly said the plan includes everything from adding armed guards, 250 video cameras, construction for safer classrooms and school entrances.
“Dollar here, dollar there,” Cox said. “Sooner or later, it’s a million.”
Some Alma classrooms are lacking something as simple as a door to keep intruders out. Alma parent Elizabeth Dewater said there`s no price for her kid`s safety.
Dewater said the idea of a school shooting scares her. She’s even willing to cut her family’s spending for the millage.
“I think it would be worth it even to have to cut corners at home to be able to afford it,” said Dewater. “It`s completely worth it.”
“If it can happen in Newtown, Conn., it can happen in Alma, Ark.,” said Woolly.
As parents prepare to hit the polls, Woolly said if if the proposal passes, the school district plans to act immediately on the security plan and could have armed guards by the end of this year.
Polls open tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. in the morning.
Woolly also said the construction would take place over summer break and would be complete for next school year.