Another Craighead County School Will Have Millage Increase on Ballot

JULY 26, 2006 -- POSTED AT 11:45 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Another school district in Craighead County will ask taxpayers in September for a millage increase. We showed you Tuesday night that Jonesboro's School Board will ask for a 3.5 mill increase, an increase they say they're in dire need of. Bay School District will turn to voters as well, but just for different reasons.

"If we do not pass this, it will not mean that we will be cutting programs," says Chip Layne, Bay's Superintendent.

Bay School District applied for a state partnership fund to pay for proposed projects. They recently learned that 1.4 million dollars will be granted to the district, but there's a catch. The school must cover the difference for the total construction cost.

"When you combine all that and do the figures and the 1.4 million, it comes out to we need to ask for 2.9 debt services mills to put with that," says Layne.

Layne says he realizes that asking for a millage increase means more money for their property owners, but he feels this state partnership funding simply isn't something the school can pass up.

"They just wouldn't have the things that they could have when you've got a pot of money sitting out here that someone's willing to give and help you build these things. That's what the motivation is," says Layne.

Their list of renovations is fairly long. If approved, the money will go towards 2 new high school classrooms, a new cafeteria, a new family-consumer science building, 2 new computer labs for K-12, and 2 new elementary special education classrooms.

"In order to get all those things built that I mentioned we have to ask for the millage," Layne.

Layne says he hopes tax payers will remember the importance of this passing, without their vote, the state funds will vanish.

"Look at it open minded and again, we're just trying to do what's best for our kids," says Layne.

If Bay's 2.9 millage increase passes, the owner of a $100,000 home will have to pay an additional $58 per year.

It's a little more expensive in Jonesboro. The school district is asking for a millage increase of 3.5 mills. On a $100,000 home, that equals an extra $70 a year in property taxes. Both of these millage increases will be on the September 19th ballot.