The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Campaigns and Politics

April 5, 2008

Ballots carry issue, raft of candidates in Jasper County

By Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Jasper County residents will decide leadership positions for communities, schools and other districts, plus a variety of other proposals when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

Voters in the Jasper School District will determine the fate of a $4.7 million bond issue for school construction. The proposal was developed after a series of community meetings when residents toured the district’s schools and looked at the condition of the buildings, according to Superintendent Kathy Fall.

The measure will address safety concerns, she said, for elementary and high school students who now must go outside to reach the cafeteria, gymnasiums, music rooms, and classrooms housed in trailers.

The district’s current levy, at $3.21 per $100 assessed valuation, translates to taxes of $609.90 on a home valued at $100,000. If voters approve the levy, taxes on a $100,000 property would increase by $186 annually.

School officials say the increase needed to repay improvement costs may vary from year to year over the 20-year life of the bond.

“We estimate it would take the (current) levy to $4.19 (per $100 assessed valuation). We think that’s a high estimate, and we don’t think it will get any higher,” Fall said.

Plans call for the Tabler gym built in the 1960s to be converted from high school to elementary use, and an old gym built in the 1920s would no longer be used by students. The current cafeteria would be converted into elementary classrooms, allowing the elimination of trailers housing elementary students.

The Tabler gym, converted cafeteria and current elementary building would be connected by an enclosed corridor. A new gymnasium and cafeteria would be built. Classrooms would be added to the high school, outdated restrooms would be remodeled and electrical systems would be updated, and roofs repaired.

The issue will require a four-sevenths, or 57.1 percent, majority for passage.

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