Facilities Funding: What the Numbers Mean

December 2, 2004 -- Posted 4:45 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- 2.8 billion dollars, that's the estimated price tag needed to bring Arkansas school facilities up to state standards, as called for by the State Supreme Court. According to the Arkansas Statewide Educational Facilities Assessment, it's going to cost 55 million dollars right here in Craighead County .

Construction is underway at Jonesboro High School for a new band and practice facility. It's a plan that's been given the go ahead from administrators and school board members, and now the state says this same school district faces additional renovation, about 16 million dollars worth.

"I don't think there's anything as far as a new building or a new classroom, any significant changes that would have to happen in our district," said Jonesboro School Superintendent Dr. Bill Beasley.

So why the big price tag?

The facilities assessment takes into consideration 3 factors. The first: facility condition.

"For this particular district you can look at any classroom that might not be 900 square feet, or a chemistry lab that might have been built 20 years ago," said Beasley.

The assessment also takes into consideration educational suitability and enrollment growth.

"In our district they were showing a little over a 200 student increase, and that was a large part of that need," said Beasley. "Theoretically you would then need more classrooms, that's the big cost."

Even though Jonesboro school district faces a 16 million dollar expenditure, it's still less than other school districts its size in Arkansas. The El Dorado school district is at 44 million, and Fort Smith is at 85 million.

"The revenue that's been estimated for this is probably beyond the reach of the state sources at this time," said Beasley.