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Popular Strategic Planning Initiative - Vision 2023 - Complete

With safety and security, technology, and capital improvement projects finished, Fort Smith Public Schools has completed the Vision 2023 (V23) Strategic Plan with $390,000 remaining in the $134 million in total available capital improvement funds. 

Deputy Superintendent Martin Mahan said, “We began this work to create efficiencies throughout the district, to make our aging school building safer and more secure, to increase classroom capacity, to expand technology, and to stand up a state-of-the-art, innovative career and technology center. We have accomplished this work and we have done so with our responsibility as stewards of taxpayer dollars at the forefront of our minds.” 

The investment in Safety and Security was of primary importance as Vision 2023 began. Projects included access control, the installation of secure entries, exterior and building site lighting, tornado safe rooms at the high schools and alarm upgrades. These projects have positioned the district to make even greater strides in providing safe buildings for the community’s youngest citizens. 

Peak Innovation Center is the result of the hard work and collaboration invested at all levels. Student success and economic growth and development are the primary goals. “Fort Smith Public School is honored to work with area business leaders and the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith to provide the best opportunities for students who are interested in pursuing careers in Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology for students in Fort Smith as well as students in 22 surrounding districts,” said Mahan. The district is also working toward providing advanced arts programming in the next phase of development. 

• Renovations and additions at Northside and Southside High Schools played a critical role in maximizing efficiencies that would be of best benefit to students. A freshman center was built on each high school campus along with new competition gyms. These new facilities

made it possible to reconfigure the district grade structure to match best education practices. Today, FSPS operates with PreK through Grade 5 elementary schools, Grades 6-8 Middle Schools and Grades 9-12 High Schools. 

Barling, Cook, Morrison and Woods Elementary Schools, and Darby and Ramsey Middle Schools each realize renovations and additions that improve the existing spaces. The elementary schools were originally designed with open-space classrooms. Each now has permanent walls that restrict immediate access to a large number of students and give all district students access to less distracting learning environments. Darby and Ramsey received necessary improvements that also created safer learning environments, including secure entries and additional classroom spaces. 

• Voter investment in Vision 2023 also provides for the 1:1 Technology replacement cycle, ensuring that all students have access to high-quality devices that enhance learning at all grade levels. 

Vision 2023 was initiated and adopted by the Board of Education in May and December of 2017. It was prioritized by the District’s Citizens Committee in early 2018. The Board of Education approved this set of priorities with minor modifications and called for a ballot measure to increase the millage collected on behalf of the Fort Smith Schools in March 2018. The May 2018 election was successful with a 62/38 win and a $121 million increase in local revenue. The district began work to complete priorities set by citizens and voters that summer. An additional $13 million was realized from gifts and other funding sources, making up the $134 million in total available Capital Improvements funds. 

Bond Issues of $121M: $123,839,000.17 

Partnership Funds : $ 5,003,113.84 

Grants (Haas, et al) : $ 2,526,990.55 

Bond Refinance Savings: $ 2,970,627.02 

Total $134,339,731.58