Crossett School District officials believe a new high school will provide students with the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century and are asking patrons to approve a 4-mill property tax increase to make that happen.
“The citizens of the Crossett School District are currently being presented with the opportunity to improve the quality of education of the students of Crossett High School,” said Eddie Goodson, Crossett School Board secretary. “Community leaders and school leadership and staff are teaming together to provide the tools needed to equip students with all they need to succeed in the 21st century.
“We believe a new high school is key for that to happen,” Goodson said. “We are asking the voters in the district to partner with us to give these, and future, students and citizens of the Crossett School District a facility they can be proud of and one that will meet the needs of the district and community as a whole.”
The district is seeking a 4-mill property tax increase and a transfer of 1.27 mills from capital outlay to debt service to fund the construction of a new high school with a media center, dining facility, and a 1,500-seat state-of-the-art arena suitable for high school graduation ceremonies and community events.
The existing high school was constructed in 1959, with some updates and new construction through the years, but school officials say it was not designed to accommodate modern technology and teaching styles. They say the school needs additional classroom space, new plumbing and wiring, a new cafeteria, new roofing, new floor coverings, new heating and cooling units, new signage, and a gymnasium suitable for conference games.
The kitchen is small and outdated and does not have adequate freezer space, the restrooms and gym are not wheelchair accessible and the classrooms are too small. The average classroom size is 758 square-feet, about 100 square-feet smaller than what is required by new education standards.
If approved, Crossett’s current millage rate of 35.97 — one of the lowest in Southeast Arkansas — would increase to 39.97, comparable to the rates in nearby Monticello, Lake Village, McGehee, Drew Central and Dumas.
The property tax increase to fund the construction of a new school would add about $80 a year in new taxes on a $100,000 home, half of that on a $50,000 home, and twice that amount on a $200,000 home. The added cost on a $20,000 vehicle would be $16 a year or $24 a year on a $30,000 vehicle.
The school election is September 16.
Election day voting will be conducted from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church’s multi-ministry building located at 701 Pine Street.
If approved, the district will spend the next year planning and designing the new school. Construction will take about 18 months.