Voters Approve LRSD Millage Extension

The millage will produce about $300 million for capital improvements.

African American mother and son going to vote wearing COVID PPE

The Little Rock School District will be able to generate revenue to upgrade facilities throughout the district thanks to voters approving a millage extension. In yesterday’s election, 5,736 people voted in favor of the extension and 1,866 voted against it, according to unofficial results from the Pulaski County Election Commission. 

School board president Vicki Hatter campaigned in favor of the measure and is pleased with last night’s results, which she called a step in the right direction in moving forward and transforming education in the district.

“I’m feeling great. It shows what happens when everybody leans in and fuels the power of us,” she said.

Voters have approved refunding bonds from 2015 and extending existing debt service mills by 19 years. Officials project this will generate up to $300 million over three years to improve the district’s buildings, several of which are more than 65 years old. The funds will support the construction of two new schools, security camera and LED lighting upgrades, and the replacement of floors, roofs, windows and HVAC systems.

Officials will begin securing contracts so they can get started on the projects in the next few months, Hatter said. The district’s goal is to break ground on a new K-8 school by Jan. 1, 2022. The new school will replace the old McClellan High School that will be torn down. The hope is to have the new building ready for students in a school year or two.

Voters previously rejected requests to extend the millage in 2017 and 2020 because LRSD did not have a democratically-elected school board during that time period, Hatter said. The state dissolved the school board when it took over the district in 2015. Hatter became school board president when voters elected a new board in December 2020. The state completely relinquished its control of LRSD in July 2021.

“To have opposing sides come together and to have our city come out and vote the way that they did, this really speaks right to the testament of how people still believe in the Little Rock School District and want to see it succeed,” Hatter said. 

The LRSD Board of Education has an agenda meeting Nov. 11 and a board meeting Nov. 18. More information about signing up for public comment and streaming the meetings online is available here.

Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is an Arkansas-based journalist. She has covered race, culture, politics, health, education and the arts for NPR affiliates as well as print and digital publications since 2007.