Foreman School District holds public meeting about millage tax vote for new school

By JESSIE SMITH
LR News Contributor

The Foreman School District held an open meeting with the community on Aug. 19 at the Foreman High School Auditorium in order to discuss the millage tax up for vote during the upcoming special election on Sept. 10.

The increase from 35.5 mills to 44 mills would help to pay for a new Foreman high school facility. In 2017, Foreman Public Schools applied for the Arkansas Academic Facilities Partnership Program, and in 2019, the school was awarded $5.1 million. The new facility is estimated to cost $12.5 million, so the millage tax would fund the remaining approximate $7.4 million.

Superintendent Pat Tankersley said a new high school has been 10 years in the making. This is her second year in the position, but the superintendents before her also took steps toward a new facility.

“This is not about just children now,” Tankersley said. “This is about our future generations and our future community…If we lose this community, we lose our identity.”

During the presentation to the public, Tankersley listed a few reasons why a new facility is necessary. The current high school was built 61 years ago in 1958, so the electrical system was not originally designed with today’s standards of technology in mind. Last year, a pipe burst beneath the junior high building, and currently, only one of the four air conditioning units in the main high school building is functional.

If the increase in the millage tax does not pass, the $5.1 million from the Arkansas Academic Facilities Partnership Program will go to another school. Tankersley said they can apply for the state program again.

If the millage tax increase does pass, the architect will immediately start working on the construction documents. The project is estimated to take roughly two years to complete, and the construction will not impact the school’s everyday proceedings.

“It’s not just about the kids going to school right now,” Tankersley said. “It’s about kids in the next 30 or 40, 50 years.”

The increase in the millage tax will affect property owners who live within the Foreman School District. Any registered voter who lives in the Foreman School District may vote on whether or not to increase the millage tax to fund the new high school facility.

Voters can participate in early voting Sept. 3-9, and election day is Sept. 10.

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