POCAHONTAS, Ark- Pocahontas residents will vote today on a 3.44 millage increase.
If passed, this would help fund a new high school for the district.
This is something Superintendent Jerry Martens says today is a long time in the making.
“It started about ten years ago and, they’ve done a very good job outlaying this whole project out,” says Martens. “That’s going to not only take care of Pocahontas in the near future but thirty to forty years down the road also. Seeing it be this close coming to fruition is very exciting.”
Martens credits leaders in district who came before him to paving the way for the special election today.
This is the second part of a two-part building campaign, with the first being a new elementary school which is currently under construction.
The proposed millage increase is one of the lowest in the state, at 3.44 mills.
He says it is the same amount that was passed in 2018 to build the new elementary school.
Martens says the town is growing and they are feeling the effects of that.
“Three years ago, our school population was only about a little over 1,900, and last year we finished at about 2,060 students in our district,” he says. “In that two years, we’ve made such growth that we’ve had to hire ten new teachers, my art and music teachers are pushing a cart around, and they’re going to other teachers’ classrooms to actually teach those students.”
Martens says the intermediate school has teachers sharing the auditorium stage teaching classes.
He says the funding for the new 85,000 square foot high school will come from multiple outlets.
“Not only are we getting 9.2 million dollars from state partnership funding from the Arkansas Department of Education, but because interest rates are at an all-time low,” says Martens.
Voting will take place today at BRTC and Sutton Free Will Baptist Church until 7:30 pm.