The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 25, 2013

Carthage school patrons rank district building needs

CARTHAGE, Mo. — After meeting needs for more classroom space, construction of tornado safe rooms would be the top priority among patrons of the Carthage School District if they are asked to consider a bond issue early next year.

At least that’s the suggestion of a survey recently conducted among registered voters in the district.

Members of the Carthage School Board authorized the survey in October, after they were told that the district could issue up to $18 million in building bonds and keep the property levy at its current rate by extending the debt over more years.

The firm of Patron Insight of Kansas City contacted 380 randomly selected registered voters in the district to determine their views on the district’s performance and a series of building project ideas that district officials have discussed with the community.

The district received high grades in all building categories, except those for athletics, according to Ken DeSieghardt, with the firm.

When asked what projects the district should undertake after addressing classroom needs, patrons suggested that the district should build tornado safe rooms, complete the south campus of the Carthage Technical Center, renovate the baseball stadium, construct a new football stadium and track, and construct a performing arts center.

Some of the recommendations for building projects came from Carthage 2020, a residents’ group that worked several years ago on district priorities. Some members of the group visited school buildings and reviewed building needs.

Among the top three priorities, patrons put tornado safe rooms first, followed by the technical center, and a new football stadium and track. An online survey of residents and staff members also was conducted. Results are still being tallied, but preliminary scoring indicates the responses align with those in the telephone survey, according to Superintendent Blaine Henningsen.

The greatest needs in classroom space, district officials have said, are in preparing for growth expected in the middle school and junior high based on current enrollment in the younger grades.

The district’s tax rate, at $3.58 per $100 of assessed valuation, has remained the same for a number of years. It includes a debt-service levy of 83 cents. The full levy, for example, costs the owner of a home with a $100,000 market value about $680 per year.

Early Childhood Center

THE CARTHAGE SCHOOL BOARD has approved a contract for the design of a new Early Childhood Center. The building will serve primarily special-education students and will be financed primarily by federal funds.

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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