Ad­van­tages in small com­mu­nity cost

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION - Editor

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@

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