School tax opponents demonstrate at district offices | Arkansas Blog

Monday, May 1, 2017

School tax opponents demonstrate at district offices

Posted By on Mon, May 1, 2017 at 12:45 PM

click to enlarge TAKING IT TO THE STREET: Opponents of Little Rock school tax proposal. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • TAKING IT TO THE STREET: Opponents of Little Rock school tax proposal.

Opponents of the extension of 12.4 mills in Little Rock School District property taxes demonstrated outside school offices today.

The thrust of their argument is that key construction can be done with existing cash flow without adding new debt service, an argument buttressed by former Superintendent Baker Kurrus' explanation of why he planned to oppose the millage.

Backers of the tax, which will add 14 years of payments totaling $600 to $900 million, say much of the work to be done by bonds were projects envisioned by Kurrus during his tenure, before being fired by state Education Commissioner Johnny Key, who controls the district in state receivership.  He has said he had a plan to pay for work with existing cash flow, budget cuts and state construction money, plus perhaps short-term borrowing, but not a new bond issue.

Kurrus has said it's unwise for a financially pinched district to borrow more money when the state support of charter school expansion in the district seems likely to continue to erode enrollment and state financial support. Supporters of the tax say improving facilities is vital to attracting students.

The new debt service alone will cost about $8 million a year in interest and related costs. Retired judge and Presbyterian pastor Marion Humphrey spoke against the tax. He noted that, by the time new bonds are paid off, the district will have to give priority to paying $290 million, counting interest, to repay bonds. The community, lacking a school board, has had no say in the tax proposal, has no school board and likely will suffer from continued charter school expansion, Humphrey's statement said. Every dollar spent on buildings will be matched by almost a dollar spent on interest. The district's amortization schedule shows payments of $154 million in interest and $201 million in principal.

Voters should not accept taxation without representation, Humphrey said.

The committee backing the tax extension will have a news conference at noon Tuesday at City Hall.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

    John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation