Voters in six of 10 school districts holding special elections last week approved increases in property taxes to fund construction projects and meet state mandates. Some of those that didn’t could be facing state intervention after property tax proposals failed for the second time since September 2007.
Act 996, passed by the Legislature in 2007, requires the Arkansas Commission for Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation to meet with local district officials after a second failed tax election to discuss how to meet the most immediate facility needs. If necessary, the state can dissolve a district and force a consolidation with a neighboring district.
All school districts in Arkansas are required to develop facilities master plans that outline how the district intends to meet state requirements and how it will accommodate projected enrollment growth.
Three of the four districts unable to pass a tax increase were on their second try.
The districts that won approval were Mountain Home School District No. 9 in Baxter County, Mena School District No. 23 in Polk County, Hampton School District in Calhoun County, Mountain Pine School District No. 46 in Garland County, Horatio School District No. 55 in Sevier County, and Cutter-Morning Star School District No. 21 in Garland County.
The districts that rejected a tax increase were Huntsville School District No. 21 in Madison County, Quitman School District No. 21 in Cleburne County, Strong-Huttig School District No. 83 in Union County, and Two Rivers School District in Yell County.