Protecting What Matters Most - Millage 2018

Posted on 04/13/2018

Ensuring the safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. While the focus of school should be on teaching and learning, our world has changed considerably and schools must now be vigilant and proactive in protecting our students and staff.

Though our focus in the area of safety and security has always been a priority, the recent tragedy in Florida has caused every school district in America to re-evaluate what we are doing to protect our students and staff.  

We are currently implementing new security measures at every school in our district. These include upgrading our Visitor Management Systems. Several schools will be receiving automated systems which include door buzzers, cameras, microphones, and office monitors. This will allow us to control access to our schools and all doors will be locked during certain times of the day.

  

Other schools will receive storefronts or glass entryways where staff can control access points. Changes will also be made to the security guards assigned to Cabot High School.  We are also in the process of immediately hiring an additional armed security officer to work with the school resource officer assigned to Cabot High School.

  

These security improvements have already been approved and we have invested over $500,000 to increase security and safety measures at all schools. These expenditures were not anticipated this year, but we were able to transfer funds and reduce anticipated operation expenditures in this year’s budget to make these changes an immediate reality. We have much more that needs to be done, and just like anything else, it comes at a cost. We certainly can't put a price tag on safety and security, but we must have a plan for ongoing funding of projects and additional security staff.

  

At the March School board meeting, the board approved a request to ask patrons for a 2.0 millage increase during the upcoming May 2018 election. Our last increase was 10 years go. This millage will generate an estimated $1.3 million dollars annually and will allow us to create multiple new security positions and fund long-term safety and security projects. Most importantly, it will help us protect what matters most!

A mill is equal to 1.10 of one cent (.001). Compared to other 7A school districts and those of similiar size and programming, the Cabot School District has one of the LOWEST millage rates with 1 mill generating just under $700,000. In Little Rock, for example, 1 mill generates $3.6 million for their district. Even with a millage increase, Cabot would still remain BELOW the 7A group average.

The Cabot School District has one of the LOWEST millage rates at 39.5 mills.

Can the district reallocate money from other programs to pay for the new safety and security measures? Yes, if the millage did not pass the only option we would have to provide the level of security our students deserve is to cut existing programs to provide the needed funding. Here is a look at some of our district operating expenditures from 2014 to date. The amounts include materials and supplies, technology/machinery equipment, registration entry fees, membership fees, travel and student accident insurance.

*98% of the athletic budget is funded through gate admissions and sponsorships. Band has a active booster club that provides additional funding.

The initial start-up costs are estimated at more than $1,000,000. The estimated ongoing annual costs range from $850,000 to $2,000,000. 

The average 2.0 mill increase will cost the average homeowner of a $150,000 house $5.00 a month or $60 a year.


 

Top Priorities:

  • Upgrade security and fire alarm systems
  • Enhance lighting & cameras at student drop off/pick up areas
  • Key fob entry system (RFID badges option)
  • Install live-feed monitors in offices to monitor real-time video
  • Increase high school security guard visibility
  • Enhance district emergency communication equipment
  • Camera & recording upgrades - all facility entrances


Facilities:

  • Renovation of office areas to improve visibility
  • Upgrade exterior lighting on all campuses
  • Upgrade fencing around student activity areas
  • Additional lighting around Panther Stadium & secure fencing
  • Improve signage and visibility at student crosswalks
  • Install emergency call boxes
  • Portable metal detectors that can be used at athletic events, dances, and various activities/events

Technology:

  • Utilize new technology to monitor arrival & departure of students
  • Monitor student electron communication while on school network (emails, Google classroom, social media, etc.)
  • Expand Visitor Management System

Transportation: 

  • Transporation GPS/Student Management System for bus safety
  • Traffic & Speed Management Systems to increase student safety
  • Additional interior/exterior cameras on bus fleet
     

The costs of security staffing, equipment, and facility upgrades will exceed what 2 mills will generate the first year (2019-2020). It is difficult to anticipate our long-term staffing costs due to the increase of salary and benefits each year. Any funds generated above what it costs to provide security staffing will be used to address long-term safety and security projects. There will always be annual costs for training and equipment replacement for cameras, monitors, and door sensors that must be replaced on a regular schedule. Finally, we will have safety and security needs in the future that will require funding that cannot yet be anticipated. 


Why can't you determine the exact staffing cost at this time?

We can't determine an exact cost for staffing since we can't predict at this time whether we will be able to attract certified law enforcement officers, certified school safety officers, or security guards. The salary and benefits for the three job categories vary significantly.

Reviewing the long-term project list, there are many facility, technology, and transporation needs to be addressed in the future. The estimated long-term costs to provide safety and security at the level necessary goes well beyond the $1.3 million that would be generated by the increase.


Will the millage proceeds be used for a staff salary increase?

No. All proceeds from the millage increase will be spent on safety and security for staff and students.


What has the district spent in the last two months to enhance safety and security and how was it funded?

The district has increased security at every campus by upgrading our Visitor Management Systems at a cost of over $200,000. We are hiring an addtional armed officer to be assigned to Cabot High School at an estimated cost of $70,000. We are providing additional resources to our five security guards assigned to Cabot High School at a cost of $100,000. We are also relocating the student activity area at Cabot Middle School South to the back of the school and moving the parking area to the front at an estimated cost of $300,000.


What about a county wide sales tax? 

We are fortunate to have the support of the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office. They do a fantastic job of providing support to our school district. Currently, there are four school districts in Lonoke County with Cabot having 80% of the student population.  

There was a sales tax proposal presented to provide additional deputies to serve in Cabot and the remaining districts in the county. The Cabot School Board voted to request a local millage increase, though the prospect of adding additional officers in any capacity is supported and appreciated.  

A local millage allows the funds raised to stay with the students and staff of the Cabot School District. It also allows the district to utilize the funding for additional safety and security needs that does not involve personnel. There are many short and long-term projects listed in the district's proposal that need to be considered in addition to staffing. Unfortunately, a Lonoke County sales tax would not generate any funding to the school district for needs other than providing additional law enforcement officers in our schools. 


Registered voters living in the Cabot School District (not only the city of Cabot) are eligible to vote. This includes the communities of Austin and Ward. If you have not registered to vote, you must do so by April 23rd. That is the last day to register to be eligible to vote in the May election.

To guarantee your application is processed in time, you are encouraged to visit the Lonoke County Courthouse or contact the Lonoke County Clerk’s Office at 501-676-2368.

Click HERE for a PDF file of the Millage Brochure.

 

 

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Cabot Public Schools

Elementary Schools (Grades PreK-4)

Central Elementary
36 Pond Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3564
Fax: (501) 843-4503
Eastside Elementary
17 Bellamy Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3563
Fax: (501) 843-5619
Magness Creek Elementary
16150 Arkansas Hwy 5, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3565
Fax: (501) 843-7567
Mountain Springs Elementary
3620 Mountain Springs
Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3575
Fax: (501) 605-1300
Northside Elementary
814 West Locust Street,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3568
Fax: (501) 843-6032
Southside Elementary
2600 South Pine Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3567
Fax: (501) 843-6229
Stagecoach Elementary
850 South Stagecoach Road,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3574
Fax: (501) 605-1221
Ward Central Elementary
1570 Wilson Loop Road,
Ward, AR 72176
(501) 743-3569
Fax: (501) 843-9744
Westside Elementary
1701 South Second Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3566
Fax: (501) 843-5802

High School (Grades 10-12)

Cabot High School
401 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 843-3562
Fax: (501) 843-4231

Academic Center of Excellence
(Grades 7-12)

Academic Center of Excellence
21 Funtastic Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3520
Fax: (501) 843-0283

Cabot Freshman Academy

Cabot Freshman Academy
18 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3576
Fax: (501) 941-1505

Cabot Learning Academy

Cabot Learning Academy
813 West Locust, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3540
Fax: (501) 843-3138

Special Programs

404 North 2nd Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 743-3543
Fax: (501) 941-2613

Central Administrative Office

602 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 843-3363
Fax: (501)843-0576

Middle Schools (Grades 5-6)

Cabot Middle School North
1900 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3571
Fax: (501) 605-0413

Cabot Middle School South
2555 Kerr Station Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3570
Fax: (501) 941-7432

Junior High Schools
(Grades 7-8)

Cabot Junior High North
38 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3572
Fax: (501) 605-8472

Cabot Junior High South
38 Panther Trail, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3573
Fax: (501) 941-7746