Monday, July 16, 2007

Fayetteville City Council on High School Location

The Fayetteville City Council will consider on Tuesday a Resolution urging the Fayetteville School Board to endorse the "current central location" for any expansion or new construction of the high school. Steve Percival, President of the Fayetteville School Board, said if the city passed the Resolution it would be considered by the board as would all input and opinion from district patrons.

Alderman Nancy Allen, author of the Resolution, notes that the central location near the University of Arkansas campus, the Walton Arts Center, and the Fayetteville Public Library has certain educational advantages, and it would be consistent with City Plan 2025 that discourages sprawl and the associated costs of infrastructure construction.

Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody said the school board's decision on the high school's location will be very important to the growth of the city and that the school needs to be accessible to all areas of the town and district. He added that he had not "heard any people at all" in favor of building a new high school on the Deane Solomon Road location on the far western edge of the city.

At a recent public hearing on the issue, district patrons overwhelmingly endorsed the central location. Only Bill Ramsey of the Chamber of Commerce and Steve Rust of the Fayetteville Economic Development Council advocated selling the current central campus to developers and building an entirely new high school at a new location. They have considerable influence, even for such a disastrous idea that serves developers at the expense of sound educational practice and community support. Watch closely tomorrow night to see if Aldermen Bobby Ferrell and Robert Rhoades support City Plan 2025 or throw in with the Chamber's love for sprawl.

The City Council should take a position on this very important issue facing the community's future, and it should unanimously support keeping the high school in the current central location. School Board members should give the Council's position significant weight, knowing that additional city taxes would be required for infrastructure at a new location and that public opinion makes it unlikely that Fayetteville voters would support a millage increase to build a new school plant out west of I-540.

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