State records indicate that campaign fundraising by two groups working to pass issues for local school districts effectively halted during a pandemic-related shutdown.

But that gap didn't have much of an effect because those groups had already raised what they needed for their campaigns.

Vote Yes Our Kids Our Community, raising funds on behalf of a Joplin School District proposal, reported receipts of about $5,436 for its entire election cycle, according to a report filed Tuesday with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The bulk of those donations were made March 31 — seven days before the original election date of April 7. Only one donation of $100 was made afterward, on May 20.

The largest donors include $2,000 from Crossland Construction Co. and $500 each from Corner Greer and Associates; Allgeier Martin and Associates; Superintendent Melinda Moss; and Kevin Greisher, of Kansas City.

A group campaigning for a levy increase in the Neosho School District raised almost four times as much as Joplin. Neosho's Future 2.0 raised around $24,229 for the election; the last donation it accepted was on March 30.

The largest donors include $5,000 from Rudy and Dorothy Farber; $3,500 from K&S Wire; $2,500 from Phillip and Tiffany Slinkard; and $2,000 each from Guaranty Bank, Community Bank and Trust, First Community Bank and Arvest Bank.

The Joplin district is asking for $25 million in bonds to build a new elementary school at Dover Hill to replace Columbia and West Central elementary schools, as well as a classroom expansion at Kelsey Norman Elementary School.

Neosho is asking for a 39-cent increase in its levy and a complete Proposition C waiver for several school upgrades and to boost teacher salaries. Neosho's building projects include a new theater, field house and safe rooms at the four remaining buildings that don't have one.

Those issues and others were on ballots for the April 7 election, but Gov. Mike Parson in mid-March postponed those municipal elections until Tuesday. The move helped people deal with stay-at-home orders and other tactics to prevent the spread of the coronavirus responsible for causing COVID-19.

Campaign organizers said the pause halted their ability to campaign publicly and forced them to find new ways of reaching voters. Stuart Puckett, president of the Neosho Board of Education, said earlier this month that Neosho's Future 2.0 paused all of its campaign activity, resuming it only after the state and cities entered the first phase of recovery planning.

While the postponement slowed momentum, campaign organizers said in previous Globe coverage that it didn't skew fundraising plans. State reports also show that committees were able to obtain goods and services they needed for their campaigns during that downtime.

The Joplin issue committee had spent $1,814.07 by April 13 and $3,118.49 by May 26. In its eight-day-before-election report filed on May 26, it reported total expenditures of $5,065.98, with $370.29 on hand.

In its eight-day-before-election report filed on May 26, the Neosho group reported total expenditures of $16,667 with $7,562 remaining on hand. The bulk of those expenditures, $10,235, occurred and were reported before March 31.

Joe Hadsall is the digital editor for The Joplin Globe. He has been the editor of the former Nixa News-Enterprise and has worked for the Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine.

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