Good analysis in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
NO NEUTRAL COLORS: There'd been talking of improving the Bentonville HIgh football stadium with additoinal facilities to "neutralize" it for concurrent use by the new West High School. Instead, in a surprise vote, the School Board voted last week to put $2 million into a stadium for West High.
of an unannounced Bentonville School Board vote
last week to put almost $2 million into a football stadium for West High School
despite board assurances in last May's tax election that no money would go to a football stadium.
Board members who pushed the project to a vote when it wasn't on the agenda said, tax millage isn't going to the stadium. Money from a sale of property
will provide the money. This is known as a shell game, not that the Bentonville School Board is the first to play it.
School Board member Joe Quinn
, a Walmart executive, was one of two votes against the expense. As Quinn put it to me, "It was a tough night for transparency." His objection was the night-of-the-decision addition of the vote to the school agenda, which he told the D-G was a "calculated tactic to cut public input out of the project."
Another $2 million in private fund-raising, lagging so far, will be necessary to finish the project.
Voters rejected a tax increase for the high school in 2012 that would have provided $128 million for the school and all athletic facilities. Voters approved a tax in 2013 for the high school, but the plan didn't include a football stadium.
Football won this week. Supporters said the games would be an economic boost for Centerton, where the high school is located. And Board members pitched football as a cultural necessity, a "cornerstone" of a community.
The high school has a football field with some stands and a press box, but it is not deemed sufficient for varsity-level interscholastic competition. Thank goodness that school deficiency will be corrected.
An alternative plan had been to spend $1 million on the existing Bentonville High stadium to "neutralize" it with equal facilities for use by West High. Go Wolverines!