GCT Moving Forward Millage Plans

PARAGOULD, AR--It is a dream the Greene County Tech School District has worked towards since 2004. Friday, the dream of a new high school became closer to a reality.

After holding three public forums, the school board voted on a future millage to fund the project.

With a simple vote at Friday's special school board meeting, Greene County Tech is closer than ever to building a new high school.

By signing off on the school budget for the 2008-2009 school year, the districts next step is asking voters to approve a millage increase for the funds necessary to build the 34 million dollar facility.

"The numbers are overwhelming. Everything is in the 70 and 80 percent range in favor of. Some of the architects we are working with, who build schools all over the country, have never seen anything like it. The best they have ever seen is 60 40," said School Board President Kevin Gillmore.

"Based on the feedback from our community meetings, our school board is very optimistic this will pass," said Superintendent Sheila Ford.

According to Ford, the district is receiving a 14.8 million dollar grant from the state, the largest in Arkansas. Because of that, the district is only asking patrons for an additional 4.9 mills.

"The difference for our taxpayers will be less than $50 (for a house appraised at $100,000) and that will provide students with one of the best high schools in the area and one of the best in the state," said Ford

After much consideration, the school decided on the piece of land, formerly the South School, they own on Highway 49. School board members are excited that the new state of the art facility will be one of the first things you see welcoming you to Paragould.

"We do own that location and that will save us over a million dollars. We will not have to purchase any land and we feel that this community is growing in that direction," said Gillmore.

With the number of educational and athletic achievements the district has earned in the past year, Gillmore feels now is the time to make this project happen.

"We're on a high here at Greene County Tech and we have a state gift of approximately 15 million dollars and now is the time to take advantage of this," said Gillmore.

If the millage passes on September 18th, the district hopes the school will be complete in three to four years.

Between now and September 18th's election day, the district plans to meet with all booster groups and civic organizations to drum up more support for the millage. In addition, they will begin moving forward with drawings of the new school.