Early Voting Open for Vilonia Millage Tax

New Millage Rate Would Make Vilonia 11th Highest in State

VILONIA, Ark. - Tuesday marks the start of early voting for the 2017 millage vote benefiting Vilonia High School.

According to the ballot, the district is asking for an additional 5.7 mills, totalling a 45.6 mill school tax.

For a home worth 100,000 dollars, the tax would be an additional 114 dollars a year, according to the the Vilonia School's Facilities Master Plan.

"For me it equates to about a dollar a day. And I'm willing to pay a dollar a day to help my kids," Laura Patrom, a mother of three kids in the Vilonia schools said.

The funds would be used for three phases of construction.
Phase 1: a new auditorium with construction beginning Fall of 2017.
Phase 2: a new career and technical education center with construction beginning Fall of 2021.
Phase 3: additional renovations and updates to the high school with construction beginning Fall of 2026.

Vilona Superintendent Dr. David Stephens believes the cost is worth it for the students.

"For me personally having a performing arts facility and a career tech ed. facility just allows us to meet the needs of all of our kids. There is a population of students in our district that  we could serve better," Stephens said.

A feeling not shared by all parents and property owners in the district.

"For an elderly person or someone that's retired, single income families, it might not be something that they can absorb. We're real concerned about that," John Bryan, father of three kids and against the tax said.

According to the Arkansas Department of Education, if the millage passes and no other districts change their millage amount, Vilonia millage would be the 11th largest in the state.

Other districts that have larger millage taxes include: Bentonville, Gentry, Poyen, Genoa Central, Fouke, Harmony Grove, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Jacksonville/North Pulaski and Fayetteville.

Though the superintendent and parents in support of the millage believe the money will go to good use, Bryan says he thinks more money may not be the answer.

"Better money management would probably help some of this," he said.

The total cost of the proposed project is $33,060,753.64. The district has approval for more than 4 million dollars in state aid through partnership funding. The final cost to the district is just south of $29 million.

Voting is open from 8 - 4:30 Tuesday Sept. 12 through Friday, Sept.15 and Monday, Sept. 18 & Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the Faulkner County Courthouse.



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