The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 3, 2014

Final push for $24 million school bond issue under way

NEOSHO, Mo. — Neosho Superintendent Dan Decker on Thursday made a final push for a $24 million bond issue for a new junior high school before Tuesday’s election.

He spoke to members of the Neosho Exchange Club during a morning meeting at the Lampo Building.

“I’ve made it to just about every civic organization in Neosho,” Decker said after the meeting about his effort. He said the independent campaign committee this week has made phone calls, and that there also would be a text message blast this weekend.

The 100,000- to 115,000-square-foot junior high school would house seventh- and eighth-graders. It would be build at Kodiak Road and Maple Street, adjacent to Carver Elementary School.

Eighth-graders are now in the high school building, and seventh-graders are in the middle school building.

A four-sevenths, or 57.1 percent, majority is required for approval.

A 24-cent property tax increase would be required to make payments on the debt, which would increase the district’s debt-service levy to 60 cents.

It would increase the district’s total levy to $3.35 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The owner of a house in the district with an appraised value of $100,000 now pays annual property taxes to the district totaling $590.90. That would increase by nearly 8 percent, or $45.60, to $636.50 if the bond issue is approved.

CROWDED BUILDINGS

Decker said district enrollment is expected to grow by 45 to 50 students every year. He said that over 10 years, the increase could be as much as 500 pupils.

“That’s almost another school building full of kids,” Decker said.

He said the high school and the middle school are the most overcrowded buildings, based on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s space recommendations for schools. He said that if those were to be followed, it would require an additional 36,000 square feet added to the middle school and 76,000 square feet added to the high school.

He said because of the number of students, the lunch service at the middle school begins at 10:30 a.m. and continues until 1:10 p.m. He said students have a maximum of 15 minutes to eat at the middle school and the high school.

“We’re a little over 800 students overcrowded in the two buildings,” Decker said, adding that every district school is beyond its space capacity.

The district has 23 mobile classrooms at school sites, Decker said. He said they are adequate but not ideal.

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