The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 1, 2014

Your Letters: School bond issue, board candidate

Vote ‘yes’ R-5 bond issue

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Neosho R-5 Charitable Foundation Board of Directors to support the passage of the Neosho school bond issue in the upcoming April 8 election.

The bond issue will enable the district to build an approximately 115,000-square-foot junior high facility at the corner of Kodiak and Maple near the existing Carver Elementary School. Building at that location provides synergies for transportation and parking due to the existing infrastructure.

A new junior high school is needed to alleviate overpopulation. The Neosho School District, as a whole, is overpopulated by 25 percent based on the square footage currently available. Further, our district continues to grow at a conservative estimate of 1 percent a year. The middle and high schools make up the greatest portion of our current overpopulation problems. Overpopulation hurts a teacher’s ability to instruct and lowers morale of students and district staff. A new junior high school facility would serve to immediately resolve those issues and position us to handle the expected growth.

The passage of the bond issue will increase our current tax levy by 24 cents per $100 in assessed valuation. For the average homeowner in our district, this would result in an additional $3.80 per month in property taxes. Our school district is a cornerstone of the community, and the quality of our schools has a direct impact on our ability to bring in new people, homes and businesses. Our location between Northwest Arkansas and Joplin on U.S. Interstate 49, along with the proximity of the new Mercy Hospital, positions this community for success in coming years. Let’s ensure that our children are also poised to experience success in their education by providing the facilities to support their development.

The Board of Education and district administrators have researched and studied both the issues facing our district as well as the potential solutions. They have tried to engage in open and honest discussion about the future of our schools and provide whatever information is needed to make informed decisions. If you need any additional information or disagree with what has been presented, I urge you to talk directly to any school board member or administrator to fully understand the needs and challenges we are facing as a school district before dismissing their plan. Let’s come together as a community and support what is important to us all — the education of our children.

Justin Branham,

President,

Neosho R-5 Charitable Foundation Board of Directors

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