Barton Superintendent Tom Wilson and the Barton-Lexa School Board are exploring the possibility of seeking a millage increase in September to finance construction of a new field house that would modernize athletics for the sports-minded community.

 Barton Superintendent Tom Wilson and the Barton-Lexa School Board are exploring the possibility of seeking a millage increase in September to finance construction of a new field house that would modernize athletics for the sports-minded community.
During a special meeting Wednesday night, Wilson pointed out that Barton’s 28.6 mills are not only well below the state average but that of several districts in the Delta.
 “The state average is 36.79 mills,” Wilson said.
  Wilson said a three-mill increase could generate enough revenue to build a new field house and concession stands.
 Asked what the proposed millage increase would mean in terms of additional property taxes, Wilson said about $60 a year on a $100,000 home assessed at 20 percent of its value. That would amount to slightly over one dollar a week out of a household budget.
 A schematic floor plan of the proposed improvements showed a 6,267-square foot field house with an additional 2,039 square feet for two classrooms, Wilson noted. The proposed concessions would cover 1,627 square feet.
The site under consideration would be located just behind the visitors’ bleachers to the west side of the school property.
  Wilson said Jackson Stephens of Stephens, Inc. of Little Rock would meet with the school board 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the millage.
 A financial analysis conducted by Stephens included the district’s assessment history over the past five years. The assessment includes real, personal and utilities.
For 2009, the total assessment was $31,605.114. That compares with $28,376,747 in 2008; $27,875,459 in 2007; $27,120,488 in 2006 and $26,858,352 in 2005.
The Stephens study showed that each mill produces $28,445 annually.
In the handout to board members, Wilson noted the comparative millage rates for the following districts:
 • Marvell: 33 mills, with an enrollment of 536.
 • Hughes: 39.4 mills, with an enrollment of 351.
  • Clarendon: 35.9 mill, with an enrollment of 533.
 • Brinkley: 35.9 mills, with an enrollment of 688.
 • Helena-West Helena: 34.1 mills, with an enrollment of 2,314.
    A comparison of districts with enrollment similar to Barton’s 750 students is as follows:
 • East Poinsett County: 31.20 mills, with an enrollment of 742.
 • Gurdon: 36 mills, with an enrollment of 770.
   • Wickes: 39.2 mills, with an enrollment of 736.
    • Pangburn: 41.6 mills, with an enrollment of 736.
    • Earle: 44.8 mills, with an enrollment of 755.
   In other action, the board approved the hiring of the following:
  • Amy Simmons, high school librarian.
 • Shauna Helton, Title I lab manager.
 • Magan Steinbeck, pre-school aide.
  • Althea Wheeler, special education aid at the high school.
   • Annette Alexander, special education aid at the high school.
Barton High School Principal David Bagley, who has been with the district for 40 years, said Thursday that the field house with the exception of the weight room “was here when I came to Barton in 1970.”
Bagley and his staff researched Barton records Thursday and discovered that the existing field house was completed in 1956.
Bagley said that he, long-time coach Frank McClellan, Bill Givens, a retired coach, and Mary Davis, who worked more than 30 years with the district first as a typing teacher and then counselor, came to work at Barton in 1970.
Bagley said the only other millage increase he could recall was done to finance construction of the gym that cost then $400,000.
 “It would cost $1 million to build a gym today,” Bagley said.
 • Dondre Harris, head basketball coach/assistant football coach and dean of students.
 The board accepted the resignations of Mattie Moore, elementary special education teacher, and Brenda Frendsley, high school librarian.