Mountain Home residents asked to consider multi-million dollar school bond measure

Published: May. 8, 2023 at 9:25 PM CDT
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MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (KY3) - Voters are being asked to consider a multi-million dollar bond measure in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

School administrators say it would secure the local high school’s future. But not everyone is on board with paying the $55 million price tag.

For the second time in less than a year, voters in Mountain Home are being asked to approve a school bond that would fund improvements made to the high school.

“I know that they haven’t done any remodeling or anything on the school in a very long time. I know it needs to be updated.”

Voters like Lisa Walling say upgrades to the Mountain Home High School are vital.

“It’s very important for the future of my grandchildren,” said Walling.

And while some taxpayers say they support the $55 million bond measure presented by the school board. Not everyone agrees with the price tag.

“I know there’s a price increase with inflation for everybody, but I think that to support our schools is number one,” said Catherine Raynolds, who is in support of the tax increase.

“For me, it’s the amount more than anything else,” said Peter Lowe, who is unsure of the tax increase.

“Basically we have a pre-engineered, manufactured, metal building up over the top of the original 1966 campus,” said Mountain Home Superintendent Dr. Jake Long.

Last August, a $40 million version of the renovation project was shot down by voters. We asked Dr. Long about talks of a $7 million option subsidized by the state, that has some voters second-guessing the district’s plan.

‘I’m not aware of a $7 million dollar plan. That has been a rumored plan based on the state’s formula that they’re utilizing that is based on a feasibility study of the number of students and the already originated square footage that exists on that campus. That’s where the $7 million dollars comes from. But the $7 million dollars is a fictitious plan, and it is not at all practical,” said Dr. Long

School officials say the price tag for the high school’s overhaul had to be adjusted.

“This is a little bit different from the August ask. We’ve had to adjust the bond based on interest rates as well as local assessed value and be able to fit the project into it.’It is a big project. It is a big ask. But again it’s not a one of wants it’s a one of needs,” said Dr. Long.

Some in the community say the cost is worth the investment.

”Inflation happens to us all,” said Lowe.

“This is a growing community, and we need it,” said Walling.

If the bond measure doesn’t pass administrators say they don’t have plans in the immediate future to get it back on a ballot, but they will weigh all of their options and make a decision in the near future.

If approved the bond would cost $3.75 a month per $100,000 of assessed value, or $45 per year.

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