R-2 directors to place $15 million ‘no tax increase bond issue’ on April ‘23 ballot‘2

Performing arts center, safey, security upgrades planned without increasing debt-service levy

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 11/16/22

The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education on Monday night declared its intention to place a $15 million No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue on the April ballot to improve district facilities and …

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R-2 directors to place $15 million ‘no tax increase bond issue’ on April ‘23 ballot‘2

Performing arts center, safey, security upgrades planned without increasing debt-service levy

Posted

The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education on Monday night declared its intention to place a $15 million No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue on the April ballot to improve district facilities and security.

“The Community Committee Report is there,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy. “The citizen committee met on several occasions and came to a consensus on the following — the school district should pursue placing an estimated $15 million No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue on the April 4 ballot.

“It talks about the purpose of the ballot measure being two-fold, and that is to understand that the district strives to produce high-quality learning in a rural environment — which also comes with providing students with the best academic experience to ensure they become life-long learners who are self-sufficient, ethical citizens.”

Hardy said the two-fold measure also goes with the district’s mission statement.

“Once the items are placed on the bond it is up to the district to maintain the standard it has set for our staff and students,” Hardy said. “The committee understands this will not completely meet every single need the district has, but would enable the district to complete projects without asking the voters for a tax increase at this time.”

Safety, security top priorities list

“The increased need to provide safety and security measures in the district for students are top priorities and to ensure students in the Gasconade County R-2 School District are safe and have varied opportunities to graduate college/career ready,” Hardy began. “The school district has a responsibility to ensure all students learn in a safe and caring environment. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) schools has identified students graduating college and career ready as a primary goal and is reflected in the high percentage of points on the MSIP6 high accreditation annual performance report.”

The committee recommended the following items to be considered as part of the bond issue: 

• Safety — add and update building cameras at GES and OES;

• Upgrade and replace cameras at Owensville High School (OHS) and middle school (OMS); 

• Replace door locks and upgrade safety in rooms;

• Add a performing arts center with additional classrooms so we can connect the main campus to the agriculture career/tech building;

• Update the front of the Gerald Elementary School (GES) hallway and office and add additional security cameras;

• Level and renovate the OMS gym to allow for a safe gym floor with adequate space for middle school activities;

• Adding HVAC in the OMS gym;

• Renovate lighting, sound and seating at GES gym;

• Update playground equipment at both OES and GES; 

• A school resource officer hub to plan in case of an emergency;

• Early childhood education needs for OES and GES;

• Roofs and parking lot resurfacing;

• GES update for teachers’ lounge, restroom facilities, providing water treatment, updating the GES gym.

“There is a prioritized list,” Hardy said. “These are pending the funding available.”

According to the board’s Resolution to call an election to request a bond, funds can be used for acquiring, constructing, improving, repairing, renovating, furnishing and equipping school facilities, including safety and security upgrades, improvements of energy-efficient lighting at various district facilities, construction of a new performing arts center, prioritizing and making renovations at each district facility and to the extent sufficient funds are available, constructing classrooms and purchasing equipment for career technical opportunities and early childhood education programs (the Project) and to evidence such borrowing by the issuance of general obligation bonds in the amount of a $15,000,000 obligation.

Board President Glenn Ely said a lot of hard work has gone into the buildings and extracurricular activities taken on by the staff.

“Engaging with community members — super appreciative of the diligence and obviously we want to be great stewards and then, but it really helps to build a lot of confidence in the consideration process,” Ely said. “We appreciate that collective hard work and continued support of our staff and our community. Given the opportunity to give our kids a chance to be their best selves.”

The board of education adopted the Resolution with a 7-0 vote.

The $15,000,000 No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue will be on the April 2023 ballot with the following language, “Shall Gasconade County R-2 School District issue its general obligation bonds for $15,000,000, estimated to result in no increase to the district’s debt service property tax levy, for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, repairing, renovating, furnishing and equipping school facilities, including safety and security upgrades, improvements of energy-efficient lighting at various district facilities, construction of a new performing arts center, prioritizing and making renovations at each district facility and to the extent sufficient funds are available, constructing classrooms and purchasing equipment for career technical opportunities and early childhood education programs.”

If this question is approved, the district’s debt service property tax levy is estimated to remain unchanged at 67 cents per $100 assessed valuation of real and personal property.”

According to Section Six in the Resolution, the district has selected Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc., in Kansas City, Mo, as its underwriter of the bonds and the firm Gilmore & Bell, P.C., in Kansas City, Mo., as bond counsel. Section Eight of the Resolution states, “This Resolution shall be in full force and effect from and after its adoption.”

The Resolution has eight sections outlining the process and expectations of the bond process before and after it goes on the ballot.

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