School Board To Discuss Bonds, Potential Millage Thursday

— The Fayetteville School Board has called a special meeting for 5 p.m. Thursday to discuss its financial options for completing the renovation of Fayetteville High School.

The meeting will be at Ray Adams Leadership Center, 1000 W. Stone St. in Fayetteville.

The school board’s schedule to a great extent is driven by two things: a desire to make use of $31.6 million in federal, stimulus-backed no-interest bonds and the state laws dictating when school millage elections must occur.

The allocation of bonds must be supported by a dedicated source of money by the end of the year or the allocation must be sent back to the Arkansas Department of Education. Any millage sought at the September school board election must be determined this month to meet all election-related timetables.

The school district has cut its operational budget by about $2.5 million to issue about $45 million in low-interest bonds for the first phase of the high school renovation. But architects estimate another $48 million will be needed to complete the high school as designed earlier this year.

School board members have discussed seeking a property tax increase to support bonds for the second phase. The millage as discussed with staff members ranges from 1.7 mills to qualify for the no-interest bonds to 2.75 mills, which would fully fund the high school project.