Bentonville Seeks Public Opinion on Second High School

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Once again, Bentonville's School Board is trying to get a second high school built because of overcrowding.

Board members are hosting a series of public forums over the next two weeks.

The series kicks off Monday (April 29) at 5:30 p.m. at Bright Field Middle School in Bentonville.

Bentonville High School junior, Brittany Berk, said overcrowding is definitely an issue at her school.

"It's really crowded, it's really hard to get to and from classes, on time, just because of the large amount of students and every year the incoming freshman class gets bigger and bigger,” Berk said.

The district wants to know what will make voters pass the millage that has already failed once. But, some parents, like Dennis Berk, said they just can't be sold on the idea.

"I really don't think it's going to pass, I think we are over-taxed the way it is,” he said. “I just don't think people want to be taxed anymore."

If voters approve the millage the district could get up to 15 million dollars worth of funding.

Superintendent Michael Poore told 5NEWS the money comes from the state, and if you don`t use it, you could lose it.

"It`s really important that voters understand that the dynamics of the partnership of money is changing,” Poore said. “This is the first time that Bentonville has actually qualified for it, there`s no guarantee that we will qualify for it in the future."

After the last public forum meeting on May 15, board members will have a plan finalized and a proposal for voters on the September ballot, but some parents, like Stephen Burton, said they will not support the proposal.

"We don't need the highest millage in the state to provide proper education to the kids,” Burton said. “This is my fourth student at Bentonville High so I am very aware of the school system and the needs. But, I think we need to look at some ideas around expanding without having a second high school."

The district is looking at two different locations, one on Southwest Bright Road and the other on Gamble Road in Centerton.

An early estimate shows the new school would cost around $70 million to build.

Below is a list of dates and places:

5:30 p.m.,  April 29 at Bright Field Middle School
7:45 a.m., April 30 at Mary Mae Jones
6:30 p.m., May 1 at Apple Glen
3 p.m., May 5 at Bright Field Middle School
8:30 a.m., May 6 at Willowbrook
9:30 a.m., May 6 at Bright Field
7 p.m., May 6 at Lilfepoint Church
9 a.m., May 7 at Cooper Elementary
4 p.m., May 7 at Mary Mae Jones
6 p.m., May 7 at Cooper Elementary
5:30 p.m., May 8 at Bright Field/Willowbrook
9 a.m., May 9 at Central Park Elementary
6:30 p.m., May 9 at Old High Middle School
6:30 p.m., May 9 at Central Park Elementary
9 a.m., May 15 at Cooper Elementary
5:30 p.m., May 15 at Mary Mae Jones

For more information on the Bentonville millage, click here.

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