Jackson County School District seeks millage increase

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

TUCKERMAN, AR (KAIT) - In less than a week, the Jackson County School District hopes the community will vote yes to a millage increase to finish up the renovation process within the district. School officials say there hasn't been an increase in nine years and hopes their track record will help the increase push through.

"Anytime someone proposes a tax increase, my first thoughts are what have you done with the money given to you so far, and is it a want or a need?" said Jackson County Superintendent Chester Shannon, who says the need is definitely there.

Starting with the auditorium which for the past five years has been too small for graduation. "Our classes have gotten larger. We're having an access of 100 to 150 people out in the lobby of the auditorium," said Shannon. Along with another building which is almost 70 years-old. "There's a part of our school that's extremely old that we are using for classroom space. It was built in 1944. The classrooms are undersized," said Shannon and in bad shape.

The district is seeking a 7.1 millage increase.  And even though economic times are hard, from what resident Billy Don Soden heard..."A lot of guys around the coffee shop are for it. There are some people that are not for it, but I'm for it. I hope it passes," said Soden.

Bill Evans lives across the street from Tuckerman High School, and has a grandson in the district. He's for it, but says anything could happen. "It's possible that it won't pass, but you have to remember it's for the kids," said Evans.

If the increase were to pass it's predicted to generate roughly 5 million dollars that would go to build a new multipurpose building. "What we want to do is build five new classrooms and it would be large enough to have graduation in it," said Shannon.

The new addition would also be used special events, and even provide room to expand. Shannon says over the past nine years, the district has renovated almost the entire campus without raising the millage, but this project is just too big. He feels strongly that the public will answer their call for help.

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