Voters To Decide On Little Rock School District Millage Extension

May 8, 2017

Opponents of the proposed Little Rock School District millage extension gathered outside of M.L. King Magnet Elementary School on the last day of early voting.
Credit David Monteith / KUAR

The Little Rock School District millage extension will be decided by voters on Tuesday.

One focal point of opponents and supporters is a promise made over two years to build a new high school in southwest Little Rock. Greg Adams was president of the Little Rock School Board when the state took control of the district. Under his tenure the district completed a plan, which included building new schools in west Little Rock and southwest Little Rock.

“If we have a reasonable path forward where we could provide that high school, and we don’t, then in my mind, we’re not keeping our faith with the people in southwest Little Rock. And they’re seeing that we kept faith with folks in west Little Rock, but we’re not keeping faith with them and I don’t think that that’s the right thing to do,” said Adams. “I think we need to keep faith with them and go ahead and get them a new high school”

Speaking at a rally outside of M. L. King Magnet Elementary School, state Senator Joyce Elliott, a Democrat of Little Rock, voiced her opposition to the millage on grounds that the school district has no locally elected board.

“We can keep the promise to build the southwest Little Rock, and we should, with funds we have now. And if those funds are not enough, there is nothing that prevents the people from this district rising up and raising private funds,” said Elliott.

Behind a banner of “No Taxation Without Representation,” Elliot urged voters to insist on a locally-elected school board before dedicating taxpayer money to the project.

Opponents and supporters of the millage agree that many of the district’s buildings, including Central High School, are in need of repair. At issue is the timing for the proposed improvements. Supporters argue that sooner is better, while opponents say the millage is a stop-gap solution and, without a clear long-range plan, the district will be in a similar position four years from now when the funds the proposed extension would expire.

Polls open for the regular voting at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7:30 p.m.