The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 4, 2014

Voters in two Ottawa County school districts split on similar bond issues

Residents in two Ottawa County school districts voted in opposite directions Tuesday on similar bond issues for construction projects.

Voters in the Wyandotte School District overwhelmingly approved a $1.62 million bond issue that will add a 7,500-square-foot cafeteria that will double as a storm shelter. The vote tally was 206-27, or 88 percent in favor of the plan.

In the Afton School District, voters overwhelmingly rejected a $1.6 million bond issue that would have financed a new middle school, part of which would have served as a storm shelter. The tally was 219-83, or 73 percent against the issue.

Wyandotte Superintendent Troy Gray said he would like his district’s project to start by the end of this summer.

“If we can start by the end of the summer,” he said, “we could have the cafeteria completed by the end of the 2015 school year.”

The addition will be the biggest construction project in the district since 2005.

Homeowners in the Wyandotte district now pay $78.38 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in annual school taxes. The total levy includes money for the district’s current bond debt, which is scheduled to be paid off in 2015.

With passage of the issue Tuesday, the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 will now see his or her annual school tax bill increase by $19.87 from $815.15 to $835.02 in the first year. The levy for the sinking fund will decrease annually as the debt is paid off.

Afton voters rejected a planned middle school that would have included eight classrooms, four of which would have met Federal Emergency Management Agency safe room guidelines.

Afton Superintendent Randy Gardner said earlier that the bond issue was put to voters because of growing student numbers in the district.

This was the first bond issue put before Afton voters since 1984, when residents approved a proposal for student transportation.

Homeowners in the Afton district now pay a tax rate of $71.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in annual school taxes. That tax rate, under the proposal, would have increased by $14.92 to $86.42.

For the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000, the annual tax bill would have increased by $155.17 from $743.60 to $898.77 in the first year.

Threshold

The proposals in both districts needed a 60 percent majority for approval.

 

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