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Jacksonville parents question how PCSSD will pay for new school

People from Jacksonville spoke out against paying for a new high school in Maumelle. They say they'll be their own district by the time it's built.
The Pulaski County Special School District Board has a lot to chew on. People from Jacksonville spoke out against paying for a new high school in Maumelle. They say they'll be their own district by the time it's built.

Folks from Maumelle showed up also to talk about the need for the new high school, saying the city's population jumped 50 percent from 2000 to 2007. Folks in Jacksonville say they're not against the school. They just want to make sure the money is there to pay for it.

Jacksonville parents came Tuesday night to ask for answers on how the new high school will be funded. Jacksonville parent Daniel Gray said the superintendent and chief financial officer both said there wasn't enough money to pay for the new high school. The district already broke ground on a new Maumelle high school and took on an $81 million bond issue.

Gray doesn't understand where the money is coming from after the first five years. Those in Maumelle say the district will get more money from property taxes and the state, $6,000 per student, as enrollment goes up at the new high school as expected.

Then there's the issue of Jacksonville schools becoming their own district. Those in the city don't want to pay the 15 percent or $12 million they would have to currently pay as part of the district. School Board President Tim Clark thinks it might be a little too early to talk about that since Jacksonville isn't even its own district yet. But those on the board agreed to look at the possibility of not requiring money from Jacksonville as they try to pay for the high school. They plan to discuss it at a work session from March 17th through the 19th.

Jacksonville residents also spoke out on efforts to merge the gender-separated middle schools in the city. Many said students perform better in the same sex environments than they did previously. And they want the PCSSD to allow the Jacksonville School District to make those decisions once they become their own district.

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