Arkansas attorney general OKs legality of Bentonville’s affordable teacher housing approach


A Northwest Arkansas school district will further consider a proposal to build affordable housing for teachers this month following initial approval of the project by Arkansas’ attorney general on Tuesday.

“We are optimistic about the possibilities and we just want to provide all the information to our board so that they can make an informed decision,” Bentonville School District Superintendent Debbie Jones said.

The Excellerate Foundation, a grant-making organization that has worked on housing issues in Northwest Arkansas, presented a proposal during the Bentonville School Board’s July 17 meeting to construct a community center and approximately 100 units for sale and lease on nine acres adjacent to Bentonville High School.

Skyrocketing home prices in Northwest Arkansas have complicated teacher recruitment. Educators with contracts have had to resign before the start of the school year because they couldn’t afford housing in the area, Jones said previously.

Before moving forward with the project, state Rep. Mindy McAlindon, R-Bentonville, submitted three questions to Attorney General Tim Griffin to ensure the project was legal.

In a four-page opinion issued Tuesday, Griffin said the district could donate land to a non-for-profit corporation for development of affordable housing.

Jones said Excellerate will present more detailed information about the project at the board’s Sept. 19 meeting.

This story first appeared in Arkansas Advocate and is being republished through a Creative Commons License. See the original story here.

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