Complaint Filed Against Bentonville School District

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A Bella Vista man filed a complaint with the Arkansas Ethics Commission about the way the Bentonville School District is informing parents of the upcoming millage election.

Jim Parsons, member of the Bella Vista Patriots, filed the complaint regarding the June 26th 6.7 millage election.

"That's what the ethics law is about, are you factual? Are you trying to just convey information or are you trying to sway public opinion?” Michael Poore, Bentonville superintendent, explained.

“We feel like we have not tried to sway people in any kind of way, we've been extremely factual," Poore said.

The complaint states that giving bus drivers fliers to hand out to students using tax dollars is an ethics violation.

“It seems obvious that using school children, school employees and materials paid for with tax dollars to promote a political decision of an election is at the least an ethical violation and perhaps a violation of Arkansas law,” state the complaint.

Poore responds, "We actually felt it was kind of an economic benefit because it prevented us from cost of mailing to the parents."

Voters will decide whether to approve a the millage increase to build a second high school. The Bentonville School District said it needs one since enrollment has exceeded its 3,300 student capacity.

"Next year we are going to be at 3,900 and by the time that we even have a solution in place if the voters approve this in 2015 we'll have over 4,500 students," Poore said.

The money would also be used for technology upgrades for all schools...among other improvements.

There are local residents who don't support a tax increase and some who say a new school will have long-term benefits.

"Even if I didn't have children in the school district, I think it's important once again for the value of our homes and for the quality of our community," Beth Bolena, Bentonville mom, said.

Early voting for the millage begins next Tuesday June 19th.

Arkansas Ethics Commission Director Graham Sloan told 5NEWS he is not allowed to comment on ethics complaints.

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