By Wally Kennedy
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
Bond issues for building projects in the Lamar, Diamond and McDonald County school districts all were approved Tuesday by voters.
An $8.5 million bond issue for Lamar schools in Barton County was approved with 993 “yes” votes versus 461 “no” votes, or about 68 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficial returns. The measure required a four-sevenths majority vote, or 57.14 percent, to pass.
The bond issue will be put toward a band room, classrooms, administrative offices and a gymnasium at the middle school, as well as new heating and cooling systems at several district buildings. It extends the current debt-service levy of 51 cents per $100 of assessed valuation; under a total district levy of $4.26, the owner of a $100,000 home pays $809 annually in taxes.
Assistant Superintendent Zach Harris said Tuesday night that he was appreciative of voters for their support. He said the projects that are scheduled to be completed as a result of the bond issue will help create a “safe and conducive instructional environment” for students.
“I think the impact will be tremendous in the fact that teachers working with our students in third through eighth grade will not have to teach over window air-conditioning units or have classrooms provided with heat with a boiler system that is very inconsistent,” he said.
Voters in the Diamond School District in Newton County approved a $3 million bond issue that includes the district’s share of a Federal Emergency Management Agency safe room that also will serve as a middle school multipurpose room, commons area and dining area.
The final but unofficial total was 284 “yes” votes and 126 “no” votes, or a victory margin of 69 percent to 31 percent. The measure required a four-sevenths majority, or 57.14 percent.
The bond issue also will pay to redo the electrical system at the elementary school, built in 1954, to comply with current codes. It will provide air conditioning in the middle school gym, renovate the bleachers and install energy-efficient lights at the middle school. It also will complete the final phase of reroofing the elementary school. Security measures are included for all buildings.
The plan also includes renovating and enlarging the elementary kitchen to serve both middle school and elementary students.
The district’s debt-service levy will remain at its current 99 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, but instead of expiring in two years, Superintendent Trish Wilson has said, the levy will continue at that rate for about seven years.
Under the current total tax rate of $3.74, the owner of a house in the district with a market value of $100,000 pays annual property taxes of $710.60.
McDonald County voters approved a $5.5 million school bond issue by a vote of 1,015 to 316.
The bond issue will provide local matching funds for federal grants to construct new gymnasiums at Pineville and Southwest City elementary schools, and a new performing arts building for McDonald County High School at Anderson. All three will double as tornado shelters for students and residents of those communities.
The bond issue also will pay for construction of additions to the high school’s existing vocational-agricultural workshop, as well as four new classrooms at the Pineville school and two new classrooms at the Southwest City school.
The measure will not increase the school district’s property tax rate but will extend the debt-service portion of that levy for nine more years, from the end of 2023 through the end of 2032.
The debt-service levy rate is 67 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 currently pays $649.80 in annual school taxes, $127.30 of which comes from the debt service portion of the levy.