The support of voters in Tuesday’s school election was overwhelming, according to Dr. Harold Jeffcoat, superintendent of the Van Buren School District.
By a margin of 681 for to 313 against, voters approved a three-mill increase, which would generate roughly $1 million per year for much needed facility improvements, including replacing the district’s aging bus fleet, updating classroom technology and building a more competitive salary schedule.
Voters also approved the restructuring of four bonds, which would generate one-time revenue totaling approximately $8 million for facility improvements.
“Now, the work begins,” Jeffcoat said. “While it will take some time for all pieces to fall into place, we are well on our way to making significant improvements throughout the district.”
He said the district will initiate the process of restructuring the four bonds with funds expected sometime after the Christmas break
“These dollars will be paired with funds made available through the Arkansas Facilities Partnership program,” Jeffcoat said. “At this point, all projects have been approved by the state but funding amounts have yet to be determined. We should know the degree of financial support from the state by the end of this school year.”
In addition to state aide, he said the district will begin the process of applying for partnership funds through Federal Emergency Management Agency for two tornado shelters, one at City Heights Elementary School and the other at Northridge Middle School.
The millage increase will allow the district to begin work on improving the district’s certified and classified salary schedules.
“Our personnel policy committees definitely have their work cut out for them this year,” Jeffcoat said. “Any changes made to the salary schedules will be reflected in contracts for the upcoming school year.”
Jeffcoat said the election results were the result of a team effort.
“With nearly 1,000 votes cast, we had 69 percent in support of our school district’s vision for progress,” he said. “We are truly blessed to live in a community that is confident in us as educators and willing to invest in the future for our kids.”
Jeffcoat also congratulated Carman Young on being re-elected to the school board. She will serve a five-year term for Zone 4. Young received 156 votes to 95 for Bob Robinson.
“I would like to thank the school board for its continued support and vision throughout this process,” Jeffcoat said. “We would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for their bold leadership and desire for greater success for our school district and community. When they publicly voted 7-0 to pursue this campaign, they set the stage for a very bright future for the Van Buren School District.
Jeffcoat said the result of this election is further proof that Van Buren is on the rise.
“What an exciting time to be a Van Buren Pointer,” he said.
Also Tuesday, Mulberry voters voted 157 to 6 to continue the district’s current millage, Mountainburg continued its millage 11 to 2, Alma continued its millage 41 to 13 and Cedarville its millage 6 to 1.
Candidates for Alma Position 2, Alma Position 6, Cedarville Position 2, Mountainburg Position 2, Mulberry Position 5 and Mulberry Position 1 ran unopposed.