The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 20, 2014

Neosho School Board places $24 million bond issue on April ballot

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho Board of Education on Monday night approved a resolution placing a $24 million bond issue for a new junior high school on the April 8 ballot.

Only board member Lynn Otey voted against the measure.

The 100,000- to 115,000-square-foot junior high school would house seventh- and eighth-graders.

The bond issue would be financed with a 24-cent tax hike, which would increase the district’s debt-service levy to 60 cents, if approved.

The owner of a house with an appraised value of $100,000 would pay property taxes to the school district of $45.60 resulting from the 24-cent levy, with the 60-cent levy resulting in a tax bill of $114. The boost would push the district’s full levy to $3.35 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of the $100,000 home would pay the district $636.50 per year.

Board members have discussed crowding in the schools and they see the new building as a solution.

Most of Tuesday’s discussion involved which of two properties would be the best location for the school. The board ultimately approved property adjacent to Carver Elementary School at Kodiak Road and Maple Street. That was the location recommended by Superintendent Dan Decker. He said that property would cost nearly $2 million to develop, while the other location, known as the Taylor property, at Missouri Highway 86 and Kodiak Road would cost an estimated $2.5 million to prepare for construction.

Dale Lett, a member of the Neosho Special Road District, said he disagreed with the recommendation.  He said Highway 86 would provide for better traffic flow. He said it also has city water and sewer system infrastructure.

“Emphatically, I feel like the Taylor property is the best go,” he said.

Board members Mike Stauffer and Steven Douglas initially said they also favored the Taylor property, though Douglas said both properties have benefits.

“I’ve lost sleep over it for the last three weeks,” Douglas said.

Board President Brett Day said the property next to Carver Elementary offers the district more flexibility for growth in the future. He said it’s also near Neosho Middle School.

“I think it would be convenient to have a junior high so close to the middle school, for a lot of reasons,” Day said.

District transportation director Jacque Faulkner said she would be concerned about the highway traffic on Highway 86.

The vote to accept the property adjacent to Carver Elementary School was unanimous among members who were present.

The board in the past had discussed using the bond issue to also pay for the district’s matching funds for Federal Emergency Management Agency safe rooms, but district operations director Tim Crawley said before the meeting that the board had decided to pay for those funds from the district’s budget over a few years.

Announcement

At the beginning of the meeting, board member Steven Douglas announced that board member Jonathan Russell, who was absent, was facing a serious illness.

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