School payment controversy grows in Helena-West Helena

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. -- Central High School in Helena-West Helena is falling apart.

Pictures from inside show lockers and equipment damaged, ceilings caving in and floors in classrooms crumbling under students' feet.  The state even put the school district on notice, saying it could be placed in what they call facilities distress.

Consultants evaluated the school and discovered it wouldn't be cost effective to fix it. They said it would be better to just rebuild the school.

To pay for it, the district proposed a $9.25 million tax increase. That breaks down to about $12 more a month for a $75,000 home.

The issue will be on the ballot during a special election on March 14. It failed last year, but supporters said they're hoping to push it through this time around.

Those urging people to vote no on the measure said the high tax increase would be a burden on families. They want the city to petition the state for more assistance in fixing the town's dilapidated school.