The Conway Public School Board took action in a specially-called meeting Thursday morning to take steps toward securing funds for an elementary school in case it is needed in the next two years.
The board approved a resolution that “the district agrees to provide the portion of matching funds for the 2015-17 funding biennium for any construction projects for which we request state partnership funding.”
In their regular board meeting in January, the board approved a six-year facilities master plan for the district. This plan has to be filed with the state every two years, and the district anticipates any possible growth into the plan.
At the meeting in January, Assistant Superintendent Carroll Bishop said that because of the district’s growth, “I think there will be another elementary school coming down the road at some point in time in the next few years.”
Nothing is set in stone, Superintendent Greg Murry emphasized, but it was still important for the board to take steps to make it easier to secure funding in case the growth continues and a new elementary school becomes necessary sooner rather than later.
“The trick of it is, if we don’t agree to provide our portion of the funding — which obviously we’re going to do anyway — if we don’t agree to that in advance then they won’t put us on the list to be funding for their portion of the funding,” Murry said Thursday.
The district has estimated a new elementary school would cost $14 million. Conway Public School District qualifies to receive 25 percent of that from the state.
The percentage the state is willing to contribute varies between districts. It takes property wealth into account so that districts with lower taxes per students will get more state money.
“The truth is, in Conway, the relationship to the number of kids we have and the businesses we have and the houses we have, the value of the houses and the value of the shopping centers we have, we receive more money from our local taxes per student than other districts would,” Murry said. “The state takes that into consideration.”
Currently, the master plan shows a new elementary school for the 2015-16 school year, but that is a placeholder and the school may not be needed for another year or two.
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