By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
For 27 years the Joplin school district also carried the burden of financial support for Joplin Junior College.
But that changed on April 7, 1964, when voters created the Junior College District of Jasper County.
The enlarged district was approved by more than a 3 to 1 margin — 8,309 votes for and 2,624 against from a total of 76 precincts.
The formation of the new junior college district meant that all Jasper County residents and some in portions of Newton, Barton and Lawrence counties would join in the financial support of the college. The Joplin school district taxpayers had provided the burden of support since the college opened in 1937.
Before the vote was approved, only students residing in the Joplin school district could attend the junior college without tuition. Students outside the district paid $80 per semester.
Most of the support for the expanded junior college district came from the urban areas of the county. Many rural precincts voted against the proposal.
The proposal passed by a wide margin — 3,590 to 446 — in Joplin’s 25 precincts, a margin of almost 8 to 1. Duquesne voters said yes by a margin of 102 to 16.
Both Webb City and Carthage voters approved by more than a 3 to 1 margin — 649 to 183 in Webb City and 2,114 to 612 in Carthage. It was a 4 to 1 margin in Carl Junction — 210 to 52 — and a 5 to 1 margin in Carterville — 248 to 47.
Jasper was one area that defeated the issue — 356 no votes to 164 yes votes. Avilla voters also said no by a vote count of 205 to 59.
The larger district more than doubled the tax base that the junior college could operate. In 1964 the Joplin school district had an assessed valuation of $58 million as compared to $130 million for the new district.
Enlarging the district became a primary target after Gov. John M. Dalton vetoed a bill to establish a four-year branch of the University of Missouri in Jasper County after the bill had passed both houses of the legislature.