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PCSSD supports Jacksonville's efforts to separate, form new school district

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PULASKI COUNTY (KATV) - After decades of opposition to this separation, Jacksonville could have its first school year as soon as the fall of 2014. But as they prepare for that new era the Pulaski County Special School District is bracing for tens of millions of dollars to be slashed from their budget.

"The buildings in the Jacksonville area are all old and could stand to be replaced," said Dr. Jerry D. Guess, Superintendent for PCSSD.

It's a simple but important reason why Dr. Guess fully supports Jacksonville's efforts to create their own district. He says a separation could help the city get funds he admits PCSSD has not given them.

"If Jacksonville gets its own district the state would likely participate in the building of new schools to extent of about 60 percent," he said.

But PCSSD will pay a high price with that separation. The district will lose nearly 4,500 students and ten schools to Jacksonville. The financial losses will also be staggering. Over 60 million dollars or one third of their budget will be taken away in the split.

"The loss of that hundred square mile would simply mean that the rest of the district should be able to operate more efficiently," said Dr. Guess. "I believe we can make that happen."

But the district's problems don't end there. Maumelle and Sherwood have recently followed suit, demanding their own district as well. Guess says it's unlikely and not his top priority.

"I'm just mostly concerned right now in the separation of Jacksonville," he said.

So concerned, he says he plans on doing more than simply saying he supports them.

"I will do everything that we can possibly do to help that district be realized as quickly as possible," said Dr. Guess.

Jacksonville is currently working on having a petition signed by at least 10 percent of registered voters in order to officially propose this separation to the state Board of Education.

 

 

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