SIKESTON - The upcoming Sikeston R-6 School bond issue has the unanimous support of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber membership voted to support the April 5 ballot issue following a presentation Thursday by Dr. Bob Buchanan, former R-6 superintendent. The $4.5 million bond issue, Buchanan explained, would fund the construction of a math/science center at the Sikeston High School.
"It will cost you 19 cents," said Buchanan, noting the current levy of $3.25 would increase to $3.44. While in his case it would increase his taxes some $70 annually, he added, "that is cheap because it will improve our community."
He pointed out when Sikeston has constructed new schools in the past, it has improved property values and brought new construction to the community. Also, Buchanan said, quality facilities make the district attractive to teachers and others looking at Sikeston as a possible location for their businesses or industries.
When approved, he told the Chamber membership, the construction of the new building is projected to be completed for the 2007-08 school year. With the completion of the building, the ninth grade students would be moved to the high school campus and located in the new facility. This would enable the school district to relocate the seventh and eighth grade classes to the larger Middle School structure with the current Junior High School then set aside to house the fifth and sixth grade classes. The Alternative Education program would move to Southwest Elementary at that time.
"This would enable us to better utilize the facilities we have," said Buchanan.
In calling for the Chamber's endorsement, Buchanan noted the R-6 patrons have always supported bond issues funding improvements to their school district. "This is badly needed ... for our community .... for our students to compete," he said.
The bond issue will require a 4/7 approval from voters for passage on April 5.
Also addressing the Chamber was Michelle Fayette, executive director of the Kenny Rogers Children's Center. The Center is hosting its 25th annual Telethon on March 19 and 20 at the Sikeston Field House with numerous activities in support of the upcoming event.
Among the preliminary activities are bingo at the Elks Lodge on Saturday; a public auction beginning at 10 a.m. March 12 at the Elks Lodge; a dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the American Legion; and "An Evening with Hunter Moore and Friends" from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. March 12 at the St. Francis Xavier Parish Center. The telethon is slated from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 19 and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 20 with several special events that weekend including a bike show, performance by The Melroys and a fish fry.
Announcing a goal of $250,000, Fayette urged the membership's continue their support of the Center. "You should be proud to have a facility like this in the area. We are making a huge difference in the lives of children," she said.
SACC Executive Director Missy Marshall presented the Chamber's 2004 financial statement showing income of $177,779 and expenses of $170,849. There are currently 521 members.
The sheet also detailed referrals made by the Chamber during the past year ranging from 16 inquiries about churches in Miner and Sikeston to 584 requests for phone books to 2,798 calls that were entertainment- related. The 3,099 referrals under the miscellaneous category, Marshall said, ranged from requests for warehouse space to an individual inquiring about a farmer with a greenhouse.
"The calls are about anything and everything," said Marshall. "We are the first line of information for Sikeston and Miner."
The next Chamber meeting will be at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo Grounds on March 24.