How much is the proposed millage increase?
- The current millage rate for Bryant Schools is 37.2 mils.
- The proposed millage increase would be 3.6 mils.
- If the increase passes, the new rate will be 40.8 mils.
(A mil is 1/10th of a penny.)
That rate would still be less than Little Rock, Pulaski County, Benton, and Harmony Grove school districts, meaning Bryant would retain a taxpayer advantage over these other districts.
In brief, the proposed millage increase will help fund:
- a new elementary school
- a new high school cafeteria
- a new high school fine arts building
- a new high school PE facility
- a new junior high
- additional updates at campuses across the district.
In detail, according to the Keep Bryant Schools Moving website* that means the following:
Improvements and initiatives considered by the Bryant School Board are designed to build new schools to relieve overcrowding, recruit and keep the best teachers and staff, and improve opportunities for students.
- TWO NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS:
Use new millage revenue to construct two new elementary schools to relieve overcrowding. One school will be built immediately; the second school in 2021.
- ONE NEW JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL:
Build a new junior high school on the Hill Farm property for all 8th and 9th grade students (allowing existing middle schools to be 6th and 7th grades only, resulting in 400 new open slots; and taking over 800 9th grade students off the Bryant High School campus). Moving these students from those campuses will relieve overcrowding in those buildings.
- EXPAND HIGH SCHOOL FACILITIES:
Replace outdated facilities at Bryant High School with new capacity for the future growth in student population by 2025. Facilities include PE/Health facilities, fine arts performance and instruction facility, and kitchen and dining expansion.
- TEACHER/STAFF SALARIES:
Retain $6 million in the school district operating fund, allowing $3.5 million for increased teacher and staff salaries (which have remained flat for the last two years). A three-year salary plan has been developed to recruit and retain the very best teachers and staff.
- MAJOR MAINTENANCE/FUTURE CONSTRUCTION:
Use the remaining $2.5 million (of the $6 million) for district operating funds, allocated for major maintenance and future construction needs. Some projects would be eligible for matching funds from the State Facilities Division.
- EXISTING BUILDING MAINTENANCE:
Increase maintenance funds for existing buildings.
- STAFF POSITIONS:
Fully staff maintenance, technology, food service, and custodial positions.
- DROPOFF AREAS/NEW PROPERTY:
Improve safety and convenience at elementary schools for dropping off and picking up students, upgrades at other campuses, and purchasing property around Bryant High School for student population growth.
- MOVE SOME DEPARTMENTS OFF MAIN CAMPUS:
Relocate Maintenance and Transportation Buildings to the Hill Farm property to alleviate traffic congestion on the main campus.
“Student enrollment in our District is increasing due to growth in our communities. Families are choosing to live in the Bryant area for the quality of life and the education provided by Bryant schools. The growth requires additional classrooms and school facilities to educate our current and future students,” said Dr. Tom Kimbrell, Superintendent.
Bryant Public Schools will use the next several months to inform district voters about the plan to address the growing student population, inadequate facilities, and the proposed mileage increase.