MAMMOTH SPRING -- The millage issue for the Mammoth Spring School District passed in the Sept. 16 election. The vote was 212 for and 178 against.
Shelia Young defeated Clint Collins for the five-year position on the Mammoth Spring School Board. Young received 238 votes to Collins' 156 votes.
Mammoth Spring School Superintendent Ron Taylor is pleased the millage issue passed, but is not happy at all that the issue even had to be placed on the ballot.
"Ever since the state of Arkansas declared war on small school districts we have been struggling. They continue requiring we fund materials for 500 students. The state funding is based on schools with 500 students. They have basically shut down any school with less than 350 students. Right now, today we have 420 students in our school district," Taylor said.
He said it costs the same to run the school with 420 students as it does with 500 students.
"There is no funding system for schools with less than 500 students. They are good about handing out mandates but slow when it comes to needed funding," Taylor said.
"It was hard to ask the voters of this district for this millage increase. Fuel prices are high, food prices are high, everyone in this area is feeling the squeeze. I appreciate them digging into their pockets to support this school," he said.
Because the school has less than 500 students they are not receiving $480,000 from the state a year that they did in the past.
If the district collects 100 percent of the millage increase, starting October 2009 they will receive another $120,000 a year to operate the school.
"I am hoping when the state legislature resumes in January, we have a friend in Little Rock. I am hoping they will give us transportation aid and more per pupil funding," he said.
The superintendent said he is looking down the road two or three years. "If they (the state) are going to continue to require school districts to offer certain programs, they need to help fund the programs," Taylor said.
There are three school districts in Fulton County, Mammoth Spring, Salem and Viola. Two of them, Mammoth Spring and Viola have both had to pass millage increases to keep their schools in operation.