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Batesville School District announces vote for bond restructure

Since Batesville School District voters turned down a bond issue last September to add needed classroom space, the Batesville School Board has been working on another approach, according to Superintendent Dr. Michael Hester.

On Monday, Hester announced that the school board has decided to ask for a bond restructuring, with no tax increase, to help fund an initial, smaller building project. 

“We are continuing to grow in the Batesville School District and so that has brought us to this point where we’re going to have to do something with our facilities,” Hester told White River Now’s Gary Bridgman. “We had a bond issue in September. We heard the voters. They said they did not want a tax increase at this time. The board has come up with a bond restructure with no tax increase. What that means is we’re going to take this in ‘bite-sizes’ to handle no classrooms, no kitchen or cafeteria for our kids.”

The superintendent said taking advantage of lower interest rates will give the district $14.3 million by restructuring the current bonds to go with the $2 million in the district’s building fund along with two grants from the state to complete the initial project.  

With the Arkansas Department of Education deeming the district out of space with the need to expand, grants from the state have become available. One is $5 million in state funds towards a new auditorium and classrooms. If not used, the $5 million will have to be forfeited to another district.  

The second grant is for $3.5 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to build a new cafeteria and kitchen.  

Putting the revenue from bond restructuring with the two grants and the district’s building fund gives the school just over $25 million to complete this initial building project for the classrooms, auditorium, cafeteria, and kitchen.

The public will need to approve the bond restructuring, so an election will be held in February. Early voting will be Feb. 1 through Feb. 7 with election day voting scheduled for Feb. 8. All voting will be done at the Batesville Community Center, 1420 20th St.

Listen to Gary’s interview with Dr. Hester below on Pioneer Update, brought to you by Citizens Bank.

 


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