Issue to fund $7 million middle school building fails by margin of 26 votes in Green Forest

Monday, September 25, 2006

GREEN FOREST -- Green Forest voters showed up in the hundreds Tuesday to vote on a millage increase, that was not passed, and a vacant school board seat, which was filled by Michael Grigg.

The millage increase that would have funded 43 percent of a nearly $7 million monolithic dome middle school for the Green Forest School District failed by 26 votes, with 294 for the increase and 320 against it.

The state offered to pay for 57 percent, or approximately $3.9 million, of the project if the millage passed. However, since it did not pass, the school will not receive the money.

"I'm very disappointed that we didn't take advantage of free money that the state was going to give us," said Green Forest Superintendent Dr. Larry Bennett, "but we are based on what our community tells us to do and we will move on."

He said the board will decide whether to pursue a millage increase at next year's September election.

"From what I understand, if the board wants to go that way then we will go back to the state and have another election next year," said Bennett, "but whether they will fund the 57 percent will be determined by them."

If the board does not decide to pursue a millage increase, he said the school will keep having to deal with facility situations on a regular basis.

"If we continue to grow we will have to address the facilities somehow, someway," added Bennett. "I don't know if we will need new portable buildings, or what, but in order for us to do any kind of construction, we would have to pass the millage increase."

Michael Grigg, who received 77 votes, beat out opponent Beverly "BJ" Marcil, by 21 votes for school board position Zone 5.

"I think he will be a good addition to the board," said Bennett. "He was born and raised here and he has children in the school system."

Bennett said he looked forward to working with Grigg in the future.

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