- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - Helena-West Helena School District officials say they plan to request a property tax increase to support remodeling a high school.

The district’s patrons will vote on the 9.75 millage increase in the November general election as they also choose a new school board, the Helena Arkansas Daily World (http://bit.ly/1TeKLOX ) reported.

Andrew Bagley, chairman of the district’s advisory board, said the property tax increase would be approximately 40 cents a day, or $12 per month for the average Helena-West Helena household.

The funds would go toward a major construction and renovation project at Central High School, which would include a new field house, library and a state-of-the-art auditorium.

“The administration building would be moved to one of the uphill facilities,” Bagley said. “For the time being we would keep the current ad building on Valley Drive but eventually it will probably be sold.”

Bagley estimated that the proposed project would cost nearly $29 million.

Bagley says the district would qualify for more than $7 million if the property tax increase is passed. Construction could begin in 2017 and be completed by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

The Arkansas Board of Education voted to return local control to the district in mid-March after the state operated it for five years. It was placed on fiscal distress as the result of overspending and financial mismanagement. The 2011 takeover was the second time the district was under state control.

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This story has been corrected to show that the proposed property tax is a 9.75 millage increase, not a 9.75 percent increase.

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Information from: The Daily World, http://www.helena-arkansas.com/

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