By Clark Vernon, Hot Springs Village, February 7, 2022
Fountain Lake School District Seeking Additional Funding
Below is a brief analysis of why we should not agree to increase our taxes, with a comparison of two other rural school districts who are high achievers on significantly less money and with many fewer advantages when comparing their physical plant to that of Fountain Lake.
That with the apparent deceit by Fountain Lake and the election officials of not granting a voting site inside the Village to make it convenient for Villagers just gives off a raw odor. After all, by applying the POA ploy of pitting lot owners against the improved property owners, as what happened with the two-tier vote, it is again the HSV improved property owners who will pay the lion’s share. The majority of assessed property outside the Village carries a lower assessed value so they can vote yes knowing that villagers will pay the larger part of the bill.
The voting sites are:
- West Gate: 3518 N Hwy 7 – Community Baptist Church, and
- East Gate: the old Cranfords, now known as USA Storage. (Note voting at this location on February 8 only.)
The polls are open Tuesday. Please vote!
Also, if you find yourself in agreement – please share this article with your address book – much appreciated.
I’ve also posted some material to page two of the AmericanaWhen.com website.
In 2021 Fountain Lake (FL) had a total of 1,276 students with an average class size of 11, 15, and 16 students in HS, Mid, and Elem. The average funding per student in the state was $10,820. FL’s average funding was $11,698. That’s $878 per student more than the state average or $1,120,328.00. How is this possible? FL is rated as a Rural School. Ah, but FL has a good portion of Hot Springs Village in its district boundaries. And HSV properties, on the whole, carry a much greater assessed value than the other properties in the District. With so much consistent funding over the last 10 years or so, one would expect at a minimum, two things.
- There is no real need for new money, and
- Fountain Lake should be a very high-performance school.
First, let me explain consistent funding. Cumulative values in the Village have been very consistent. After all, until last year no more than 50 houses were built in any year since 2010. So the values have been consistently there. Some may argue that Seniors over 65 have their assessed values frozen. True only until the property is sold and reflected at the new sold value as the new assessed value and sales amounted to 639, 696, 872, and 864 in 2018 thru 2021. So FL funding is not stagnant.
In 2021 Quitman had 733 students and received and spent $1,864 less per student than FL or $1,366,312.00 in total less than FL. Quitman’s HS was rated a high achiever and received an extra $10,500 from the state for their reward. In 2021 Valley Springs had 831 students and spent and received $2,059 less than FL per student or a total of $1,711,029.00 less than FL. Valley Springs, as a high achieving school, received $23,300 for the middle school and $27,700 for the HS, as high achieving awards for their efforts.
There are many further statistics I can pull from the archives of the Democrat-Gazette or the AR State Education Dept including graduation rates, etc. But the fact of the matter is that it matters not that FL has not had a millage increase in “30” years as someone stated. FLSD receives funding that is still greater than the AR average by a long shot. FLSD’s results fall well short of real rural high achievers who attain their ranking with greater effort and much fewer resources. Fountain Lake has always spent money on their physical plant and they are currently poor-mouthing some temp buildings to justify the increase, but not promising performance.
Further, by not giving the Village a voting site inside the gates, they are trying to diminish our no votes so that those outside our gates who will pay less with lower assessed values can ride free. Sounds like our POA ploy with non-resident owners and the two-tier, doesn’t it? So the request is not even sincere.
It’s critical that you vote on TUESDAY Feb 8th – nearest voting locations are West: Community Baptist Curch, 3518 Hwy 7 or East: Old Cranfords supermarket n/k/a USA Storage.Quitman-Public-Schools
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