Batesville School Board discusses recommended plan for millage

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Article by Teisha Bagwell

UPDATED, Dec. 17, 2019, 2:40 p.m.: Scroll down for more details about the recommended plan presented at last night’s Batesville School District’s board meeting.

The Batesville School Board met Monday night for the final regular business meeting of the year and discussed the item that has been the focus of a recent slate of town hall meetings: a millage for the growing district.

Over the past few months, the district has worked to collect survey data to pinpoint which millage plan, of three proposed, would most likely succeed among voters if put on the ballot.

Ultimately, a recommended plan was presented to the board to appear on the ballot in the spring. The plan is not one of the three originally proposed, but a “compromise” of items most-needed from the plans.

Described as the least expensive plan for citizens in the short-term that addresses classroom shortage, safety, and security, the plan as presented comes in at just over $49,000,000, or 8.4 mills.

The proposed plan includes:

  • 62 school entrances secured for elementary and secondary schools — $1 million
  • 54 new classrooms created district-wide — $1 million
  • 12 classrooms/storm shelters at Eagle Mountain & West Elementary — $3.7 million
  • 1 large safe room project at Sulphur Rock Elementary — $1 million
  • 28 classrooms remodeled from the original 1982 Junior High School — $4 million
  • 4 new FFA classrooms and a remodel of the lab classroom — $500,000
  • 17 new classrooms to replace the 1938 West Elementary wing — $5 million
  • 1,800-2,000 seat theater and drama classroom — $7,689,555
  • 17 new classrooms in the theater (8 to replace modulars) — $8,654,730 *some classrooms constructed for special programs/classes*
  • 2,000-2,200 seat gym-floor and retractable seating — $2,329,210
  • Storm shelter safe zones in the gym basement lockers and halls — $4,943,000
  • Gym upper-level stationery seating and support spaces — $1,761,600
  • Cafeteria and kitchen with the lobby for 1,000 BHS students and staff — $5,696,250
  • Traffic congestion relief and parking lot repairs for Sulphur Rock and Eagle Mountain campuses — $750,000
  • 2 preschool classrooms and playground safety work — $500,000
  • 3 elementary classrooms and playground equipment and dirt work — $700,000

The school had previously said it would propose a millage increase on the March 3, 2020, primary ballot.

The plan proposed is not finalized until the board makes its final decision. The plan will appear again on the agenda in January for the board to either approve or deny and the public will have another opportunity to comment at that time.

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