AUDIO ALERT: Sheridan's Friday Night Lights
Our tax money is up for grabs everywhere you look. The Sheridan School Board voted to use tax dollars in exchange for pledged donations and advertising.
YJ Nation — aka the Sheridan School District — takes sports seriously.
In early 2022 rumors swirled about a need for new football field turf and a high-tech fancy scoreboard.
It was the talk of the town when the school board met in a special-called meeting in March 2022 to decide how to replace the turf on the Yellowjacket football field.
Turf seems to be a going thing throughout Arkansas public schools. Sheridan is no different.
According to an audio file released under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, the Sheridan School District had approximately $214,000 in their “fundraising” account at the time of the meeting.
At that time the district was struggling to hire bus drivers partially because of the job's low pay. The lack of drivers continues to be an issue.
The turf replacement would cost tax payers around $480,000, according to the audio file.
Turf has an eight-year warranty and only an eight-to-ten year lifespan, according to the discussion on the audio.
Matt Scarbrough, the school's athletic director at the time and now superintendent at the Hampton School District, explained to the school board that a new scoreboard was needed because the one in the stadium was obsolete.
Scoreboards aren’t cheap.
In fact, the Yellowjackets scoreboard cost approximately $245,000.
According to the audio, the board approved the turf replacement and then approved a motion to accept bids on a new scoreboard contingent upon pledged donations and advertising.
During the discussion, former board member Byron Hicks said to Scarborough that the district would have to front the cost.
Scarbrough said all revenue from businesses advertising on the scoreboard would go back to the district to fund the costs.
Ultimately, the district approved the plan for the scoreboard and turf. Both installed before the first football game of the 2022-23 school year.
According to documents, former state representative Andy Mayberry, the district's communications director, along with Stanley Hancock, the Friday night voice of YJ Nation football and now a school board member, took to the streets to raise money for the turf and scoreboard.
Documents, which were acquired in October 2022, show several local business owners pledged support through donations to pay back the tax payers for the upgrades to the YJ Nation sports complex improvements. It's important to note that private business owners can spend their money as they wish. And supporting a school district is admirable as well as a tax write off.
According to documents, two bids were submitted for the naming rights for the football field.
One thing is certain when it comes to the Sheridan School District: sports and facilities are a top priority.
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