BIC millage passes

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Buffalo Island Central School District has new facilities in the future due to the voters approval of a 7 mill increase.

The millage proposal passed by 61 percent of the votes, 669-434.

Plans are to construct a new building to house kindergarten through sixth grade in Leachville and a new building for seventh through 12th grade in Monette. The construction will be on the existing campuses.

Buffalo Island Central sign sent a Thank You message out following the passage of the additional millage for the construction of new school buildings. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

This was the third time voters had gone to the polls to decide on a millage increase.

The first vote in 2014 was asking for an additional 9 mills with plans to build a K-12 facility off the existing campuses. It failed 725-434.

The second vote in 2015, also asking for 9 mills, failed by 453-353.

With each failed vote, school officials listened to the voters.

With the passage of the millage, BIC will be able to utilize state partnership money that will fund 52 percent of the estimated $18 million project.

The District was approved earlier last year for up to $11 million in partnership money for new buildings. If the millage had failed, the District would have had to return the partnership money.

Superintendent Gaylon Taylor was excited and thrilled with the vote.

"We had individuals who worked hard to get the message out," Taylor said. "It was a source of urgency. We were in triple overtime. I want to thank the mayors of Monette, Leachville and Black Oak for their endorsement and all of the people who helped get the word out. It is a great day for us at BIC. We will be able to preserve our great place for education for future generations."

The elementary building in Leachville is over 62 years old, the high school building in Monette is over 50 years old; and the junior high building on the Leachville campus was built in 1974.

The new elementary building will be located behind the present junior high building extending to the north. The new high school will be wrapped around the Mustang Athletic Complex.

"It has been a long, hard two and half years but we are ready to move forward," Taylor said. "We will meet with the architects and the construction manager to finalize the plans. Once the board has a chance to review the plans it will be submitted for approval."

It is projected the building project will take 18 months once construction begins.

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