Advantages in small community cost
Voters will be asked to approve a millage increase to pay for a new high school on Feb. 13.
Last fall, a request for a higher millage increase failed. Some people complained that Pea Ridge has one of the highest millage rates in the area. Yet, because there is relatively little commercial or industrial property in the 53 square miles encompassed by the school district, overall property values are lower and not as much is raised by one mill as in neighboring communities.
At a recent meeting, one resident hit the nail on the head when he said he choose to live in Pea Ridge because he liked the smalltown atmosphere and preferred living in a more residential community than a thriving commercial environment. That costs money.
In a city, people pay more to live in certain neighborhoods. A house on the golf course costs more than an equally-sized house in the country off a dirt road.
Many people are finding the charm of Pea Ridge and its smaller school appealing and are move here. Some, although they haven’t moved here, send their children here. That irks some residents believing that local residents are paying for the out-of-town students to attend school. But, according to state law, money follows the student. State law created and governs School Choice. Local school officials may not refuse a student unless the particular grade he or she is entering is full.
Until, or unless, there is more commercial property in town, people in Pea Ridge will face higher property taxes. But, it’s a cost that allows them the privilege of living in a small-t0wn, caring community and allowing their children to attend a thriving, successful school where everyone knows everyone. The classes are still small enough that teachers know students by name and often know their families, too.
Editor’s note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County. She can be reached at abeard@ nwadg.com.