June 28, 2007 - Posted at 9:07 p.m. CDT
PARAGOULD, AR -- One of the fastest growing school districts in Region 8 School is looking to voters to help fund a multi-million dollar project. Greene County Tech will be holding a series of public forums to explain the millage increase behind the new high school project.
It's estimated to cost between $28-$30 million dollars...with the state picking up 53% of the tab and the project could be completed in as little as three years.
The state of Arkansas has offered Greene County Tech a grant worth $14.8 million dollars, but voters must raise the rest with a possible 4 or 5 mill increase on the September 18th ballot.
"If we went for four mils, someone's home worth around $100,000 would be about an $80 dollar investment a year," said GCT High School principal Gene Weeks, "Which equals out to probably a 20 ounce soda a week that I would have to give up to build a new facility."
The new high school will hold 1,000 students...right on track with the school's growing population.
"This past year we had 638, next year we will have over 700, so if that continues to grow, we will be pushing over 800 by the time we get the facility built," said Weeks.
The old high school building will likely be used for additional classroom space for younger grades. The district is currently researching locations for the new facility.
"We need 45 acres," said Weeks, "30 acres for buildings and parking lots and 15 acres would be green spaces, trees and grass. So we have to have a site at least 45 acres. The district does own some land, we own 90 acres on highway 49 south. That's a possibility."
The school has one year to pass the bond issue. If it fails, the money will return to the state and be redistributed to other districts.
"It's going to raise people's taxes a little bit, but not as if we had to pay for the whole building, which could happen in a year or two if we don't use this money. It's not going to be as expensive as people would think," said Weeks.
The first of three public forums will be held on Monday, July 9th at 6:30 p.m. at the GCT Primary School on South Rockingchair Road.
A second meeting will be Tuesday, July 10th at 6:30 p.m. at the Western Greene County Water Office on Highway 141 South in Walcott.
The third meeting will be on Thursday, July 12th at 6:30 p.m. at the Teleflora training room on East Kingshighway in Paragould.