Kelly voters set to cast vote on amended proposal
BENTON - On April 2, the Scott County R-4 School District's voters will step up to the polls for the sixth time to decide the fate of the reoccurring bond issue. This time, the school district promises the proposal is a winning plan that will cost voters as little as possible.
"We tried to come up with a proposal that wouldn't fail," Superintendent Don Moore said. "The biggest issue that we found was that the previous proposals cost too much so we down scaled and cut some areas."
Moore said items cut were the superintendent's office, extra classrooms, a multi-purpose cafeteria and kitchen and a hallway connecting the new addition with the old. These cuts helped decrease the proposal amount by $1.9 million.
"We're trying to make this issue with long-range plans in mind," Moore said. "Also, to do it in such a way that it will cost voters as little as possible."
The new bond issue, which aims at the construction of a new high school facility, includes the addition of more classrooms, a new computer lab, library, science classrooms and a family and consumer science classroom.
Moore said the school district tried to get as economical as possible for the taxpayers, starting with a 75 percent reduction in the amount of the tax increase. In November 2000, the bond issue proposed was $4.9 million, which would have required a 75-cent increase in debt service tax. This time the school district has cut the amount back to $3 million, and, if passed, would result in a 19-cent increase in debt service tax.
Currently, Scott County R-4 School District has the second cheapest tax rate of the seven school districts in Scott County at $3.17. Kelso C-7 has the cheapest at $2.75. If the bond issue passes, the tax rate will increase to $3.36, while still remaining cheaper than Scott County Central, Chaffee and Oran School Districts.
In fact, Moore said, the proposed bond issue will raise the current debt service tax of 42 cents to 61 cents, which is the same amount it was in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
Moore indicated several reasons the bond is needed. Currently, 13 classrooms are located in mobile units. Also, hallways are dangerously overcrowded, he said. The school's larger classrooms have been subdivided into two or three classrooms, he added.
Construction of new facility will not only benefit the high school, but also the elementary and middle schools, Moore said. No space exists for additional sections at the grade school level. Elementary grade levels that just a few years ago only required two classes, now make up four and five sections. The elementary and middle schools will use the space made available in the high school.
One of the main benefits of the proposed bond issue is to move the students out of the mobile units and into the main facility, Moore said. The approval of the bond issue will also result in enhanced programs and a better chance of a higher property value, he said.
In order for the issue to pass, 57 percent of the votes must be in favor of the bond. Moore is aware that voters are sensitive about past bond issues and knows the district must be up front with the voters.
"We won't be tearing down any existing buildings. But if we can get this passed, and get a cheap enough bid by the contractors, we will build the multi-purpose cafeteria and kitchen and get as much done from the plan with the saved money," Moore said.
Moore has all ready been several places to discuss the bond issue including Unity Baptist Church, the Chamber of Commerce, a PTO meeting. There is a meeting set at the Blodgett Fire Department at 7 p.m. Thursday. Moore doesn't stop there.
"I'll go anywhere," Moore stated. "All the way up until the election, I'll go to a house and explain it (the proposal) to them- a group or a family- whether they're for or against it. Voters need to know it's absolutely needed."
For more information about the bond issue, contact Moore at (573) 545-3887.