GRAVETTE (KFSM) - Voters in the Gravette School District will decide whether or not they want to help fund a new elementary school and six extra classrooms at the high school.
If voters approve the 3.6 millage increase, the new elementary school will be built on Lancashire Road in Bella Vista. The location has a sign that reads "Future Site Highlands Elementary School."
In Gravette, grades Pre-K through 5th are divided into two schools. Pre-K through 2nd grade attend the Upper Elementary School and students from 3rd through 5th grade attend Glenn Duffy Elementary School.
Superintendent Richard Page said the classrooms at the Upper Elementary School are all occupied and said the high school needs more space.
"We're seeing 40 to 50 new students per year coming into our district overall," Page said.
The opposition group created a Facebook page to express their viewpoint. Hope Duke has three children in the Gravette School District.
Duke said a new elementary school isn't good use of tax payer money.
"It's simply not needed," she said. "There aren't the growth numbers for it."
The superintendent said the 15 acres in Bella Vista are being reserved. The location is in front of the entrance to the Highlands.
"If we build on that property in 10 years, they will donate the land to the school,” Page said.
Page said the school district is looking long-term.
"We believe that growth will continue with the new highway (Bella Vista Byspass) and the increase in population in the Bentonville area moving out in this direction," Page said. "We think that this will be for the future the best solution."
As for Duke, she said she doesn't agree with this solution.
"There are plans that we could utilize as opposed to building a new facility," she said. "Instead of hiring new staff, we'll be using the same classroom teachers and just moving them."
"We'll be moving kids from this building out there and have empty classroom per grad in Glenn Duffy and the Upper Elementary and that doesn't makes sense.
The current millage rate in the Gravette School District is 37.2, according to the Benton County school district millage rates.
Early voting is from Sept. 7-15 at the Benton County Clerk's Office. Election Day is Sept. 16. where there will be four polling sites in Sulphur Springs, Gravette, Hiwasse and Bella Vista.
Source: Gravette School District
Break down of 3.6 millage:
- Homeowner with $100,000 home would pay about $70.
Proposed Elementary School:
- Grades Pre-K to 5th
- 61,000 sq ft.
- 3 classrooms per grade
- First year enrollment: 240 students
- Cost: $12,918,700
High school addition:
- 8,550 sq. ft
- 1 science lab
- 5 classrooms
- Cost: $1,774,900
- Current District Building Funds: $1,012,000
- District Site Acquisitions Funds: $400,000
- 2009 Bond Refinancing: $2,075,000
- Revenue From Millage Increase: $11,206,600