Thursday, October 13, 2016

LR school chief talks of budget cuts and need for vote to extend bonded debt

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 3:29 PM

click to enlarge lrsdcuts.jpg

click to enlarge MICHAEL POORE: Talking vote on millage extension.
  • MICHAEL POORE: Talking vote on millage extension.
Michael Poore, superintendent of the state-controlled Little Rock School District, outlined for the state Board of Education today possible ways to cut another $15 million in district spending next year as the district prepares for loss of state desegregation support.

None of it sounds good: Closing 3-4 schools; cutting another $50 a month out of school district support for employee health insurance (it has already been cut); privatization of some services; an in-house lawyer to cut spending to the outside Friday Firm; cuts in payroll.

He said "positive, energizing and exciting" things were happening in the district that should attract more students to the district.

But he said the district had to recruit middle school students, the age group where the distict has felt most erosion.

Poore also talked about going to voters for approval of restructure of debt to provide the money for a new high school in Southwest Little Rock and other facility needs. This would mean, not a millage increase, but added years to pay off existing bonded debt to which millage is pledged. "This is not a new tax. This is not an increase," Poore said.

 Over time, it is. (If you believe tax millage rates ever might decline when bonds are paid off.) This vote could come as early as February, he said. But it might take longer. But he said he didn't want to wait too long. He's been talking to Stephens Inc. about the idea.

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