Several school districts across Northwest Arkansas are holding elections today, with either school board races or tax-related issues on the ballots.
Polling places are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Six school districts across Benton, Washington, Sebastian and Crawford counties have a total of seven board races.
The Fayetteville School District has two seats up for grabs. Incumbent Nika Waitsman faces Miriam Smith in a race to represent Zone 1, which covers the east and northeast portions of the Fayetteville School District. Incumbent Megan Hurley faces a challenge from Elisabeth Beasley for a term in the board's at-large Position 1 seat.
Registered voters across the district are eligible to vote in the at-large race. Only residents of the zone may participate in the Zone 1 election. In both cases, the winner gets a five-year term.
In Rogers, Suzanne Spivey hopes to maintain the Zone 3 seat the board appointed her to last year to fill a vacancy. Ashley Pledger is the challenger in the race.
In Fort Smith, board President Bill Hanesworth seeks a three-year term against challenger Matt Blaylock for the at-large, Position 4 seat.
In Gravette, incumbent Hope Duke looks to hold on to her Position 5 seat. Melanie Nichols is also running.
In Alma, board member Ron Haught has decided not to run for reelection after 30 years of service. Barret Ewing and Shanna Morgason are competing to take his place.
In the Mansfield School District, Trent Hayslip and Jan Carlton are vying for the board's Position 3 seat. Adam Hecox got his name on the ballot as well, but withdrew from the race after ballots were printed, according to the Sebastian County Clerk's Office.
A few other Northwest Arkansas school districts are proposing tax-related matters to voters.
Springdale is asking voters to approve the refinancing of existing debt and an extension of the current millage rate, allowing the district to add facilities at Central Junior High, Southwest Junior High and Springdale High schools.
Springdale's millage rate is 40.5, third lowest among the 15 school districts in Benton and Washington counties. The rate would not change if voters approve the issue.
"We would like to ask our patrons to allow us to extend our existing debt back out to 30 years, or 10 years longer than it is currently," which will provide the money needed for the faciliity projects, said Kelly Hayes, assistant superintendent.
The state would provide about $36 million for the projects if the district comes up with its own share, Hayes said.
The Elkins School District is asking voters for permission to restructure existing bonds, which would provide money to complete a number of facility projects, including a multipurpose facility at the high school; renovations at the middle, elementary and primary schools; and paving of parking areas. The district's millage rate of 44.2 will not increase if voters approve the issue.
The Mountainburg district seeks a tax increase of 4.9 mills, which would bring the tax rate to 44 mills, to borrow and pay off $10.3 million to be used for construction of an all-purpose arena at Mountainburg High School, plus renovation and construction of other facilities. The increase, if approved, would add $98 per year to the school taxes paid by the owner of a $100,000 home.
May 18 polling sites
• Highlands United Methodist Church, 371 Glasgow Road
• Gravette Civic Center, 401 Charlotte St. SE
• Bland Chapel-Rocky Branch, 8530 Twin Cove Road
• Centro Cristiano Assemblies of God Church, 2121 S. First St.
• Sunnyside Baptist Church, 210 E. Locust St.
• Moose Lodge #877, 215 W. Apple Blossom Ave.
• Alma Community Center, 114 Collum Lane East
• Mountainburg Assembly of God Church, 922 NE Highway 71
• Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 1301 Frank St.
• Nelson-Hall Beckman Center, 2100 N. 31st St.
• Creekmore Park Rec Building, 3301 S. M St.
• Southside Senior Center, 2700 Cavanaugh Road
• East Side Baptist Church, 2710 Massard Road
• Ben Geren Park Tornado Shelter, 7200 Zero St.
• Mansfield City Hall, 200 N. Sebascott St.
• Elkins Community Center, 162 Doolin Drive
• Baldwin Church of Christ, 4377 Huntsville Road
• Central United Methodist, 6 W. Dickson
• Covenant Church, 4511 W. Wedington Drive
• Genesis Church, 205 Martin Luther King Blvd.
• Sang Avenue Baptist Church, 1425 N. Sang Ave.
• Sequoyah Methodist Church, 1910 Old Wire Road
• Trinity Fellowship, 1100 Rolling Hills Drive
• Goshen United Methodist Church, 122 State Highway 45
• Archer Learning Center, 600 Ash St.
• Elmdale Baptist Church, 1700 W. Huntsville Road
• First Church of the Nazarene, 2300 S. 40th St.
• Nob Hill Fire Station, 19375 Nob Hill Loop
• Oak Grove Baptist Church, 499 Oak Grove Road
• Springdale Civic Center, 2323 S. Old Missouri Road, #D1
• St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 110 E. Henri De Tonti Blvd.