Pulaski County, Little Rock school districts plan to restructure bonds to fund improvements

Education

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Two school districts in Pulaski County are looking to restructure their bonds to free up resources for capital improvements across their districts.

The Pulaski County Special School District is looking to free up approximately $80 million from bond restructuring. 

Superintendent Dr. Charles McNulty says the pandemic has shown there are further needs that have to be addressed in the district going forward.

“It heightened the good things we do and it certainly opened up opportunities in our infrastructure,” Dr. McNulty said.

The district plans on adding the following:

  • $15 million for a multipurpose arena at Mills High School
  • $11 million for softball and baseball fields and a new indoor practice facility
  • $1 million for a new band room at Sylvan Hills
  • $6 million to retrofit Harris and College Station Elementary Schools
  • $35 million for expansion at Robinson High School
  • $5 million for expansion at Baker Elementary School
  • $4 million for a new transportation pound
  • $2 million to upgrade interior and exterior lighting across the district to LED, which will save 33% on electricity costs
  • $1 million for HVAC and lighting software across the district.  This is pending availability of funds after the other projects.

“It’s all about providing educational experiences for our students, both co-curricular and academic, that can have that opportunity to have the best-lived experience they can have,” Dr. McNulty said.

LRSD is doing the same thing but their bond restructure will yield $300 million.  Superintendent Dr. Michael Poore said people need to be aware that nothing changes to anyone’s taxes in the district.

“It’s just like your house, if you haven’t refinanced your house and you took a mortgage on in 2010, 12 and you didn’t refinance, you’re losing money because you’re paying at a higher rate than you need to,” Dr. Poore said.

Voters we spoke with agreed the aging infrastructure needs in the district should be addressed, with many buildings over 65 years of age.

“We need to improve our facilities for our students.  Some of the facilities are in the same situation when I left in 1973,” Muskie Harris said.

Kristy Mosby lives in LRSD and said she felt the key to this measure passing is the improvements will be felt district-wide.

“I think it’s going to bring in more students to our districts because they are going to see LRSD cares about the buildings and in turn cares about the students that come into those buildings,” Mosby said.

This will be the third attempt at a restructure since 2017 for LRSD. In 2017, only 35% of voters voted in favor and in 2020 46% were in favor.

Dr. Poore says he is anxious for the results to roll in.

“We don’t have to wait until tomorrow, I’m nervous now!” Dr.  Poore explained.

To view the full proposal of projects by LRSD click here.

To view the PCSSD proposal of projects click here.

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