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Area school districts seek voter support for ballot issues

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On April 4, numerous area school districts have tax levies and bond issues up for consideration by voters. A “yes” vote would approve the respective ballot measures.

Ash Grove bond issue
The Ash Grove School District seeks to pass a $9.4 million bond issue for various projects at its elementary school.

If the proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is estimated to increase 30 cents to 99 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property. 

The issue’s passage would allow the district to build a roughly 24,000-square-foot addition to Ash Grove Elementary, including six new classrooms and additional restrooms, as well as expand outdoor learning spaces, according to the school district website. Additionally, a gymnasium would be built that also can serve as a safe room with capacity to hold the entire school campus and community members in case of an emergency.

The bond issue needs a 57.14% majority to pass.

Bolivar tax levy
The Bolivar School District is asking voters to support a 25-cent increase to the property tax levy with a goal of recruiting and retaining quality teachers and support staff by raising pay.

Officials say the levy increase, which would move the school district’s tax rate to $4.09 per $100 of assessed valuation, would annually generate $547,000. If approved, it would equate to a property tax increase of $47.50 per year on a $100,000 home, according to the school website.

Base pay for teachers at Bolivar schools is $38,500 for the 2022-23 school year, according to the website. The school district desires to reach a base pay of $40,000 by 2025.

Fordland tax levy
A 28-cent increase to the operating tax levy is being sought by the Fordland School District. However, the issue’s passage would not change the overall tax rate of $3.92 per $100 of assessed valuation, as the school district would make a corresponding reduction to its debt service tax levy of the same 28-cent amount.

The levy transfer would provide roughly $150,000 annually to help offset rising operating costs, according to the school district’s website. It also would help the district be competitive in salaries.

Kirbyville bond issue
Voters in the Kirbyville School District will decide the fate of a $1.8 million bond issue.

School district officials say the bond issue would not increase the current debt service tax levy of 35 cents per $100 assessed valuation. If passed, it would fund construction of secure entrances at the elementary and middle school buildings, build an office for the school resource officer and update security systems with cameras, digital video recorders and door access controls. Additionally, proposed upgrades include the district’s telephone system, the elementary school’s parking lot and lighting.

The bond issue needs a 57.14% majority to pass.

Marshfield bond issue
The Marshfield School District seeks a $10 million bond issue intended to make physical improvements and additions to its campus.

Superintendent Mike Henry said the bond issue is not a tax increase and, if approved, would maintain the school district’s debt service property tax levy at 60 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

He said the ballot item is part of the district’s long-range planning and has multiple projects connected with it. One is the construction of a storm safe space for its east portion of campus, which includes the high school and Shook Elementary School. The space also would house the school district’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

Additionally, the bond issue would fund an expansion of the agriculture department’s shop at the high school.

The bond issue needs a 57.14% majority to pass.

Miller bond issue
A $2.5 million bond issue is on the ballot for voters in the Miller School District to fund renovations and upgrades to its agriculture department facility.

The proposal is a no-tax-increase bond issue that would maintain the current debt service property tax levy at 61 cents per $100 assessed valuation, said Superintendent Dustin Storm.

Proposed new construction includes an agriculture metal shop, two additional classrooms, a conference room and more restrooms, Storm said. Renovations would be made to the current meats lab and agriculture shop to allow for expanded program offerings, as well as relocate the art room into a former technology lab.

The bond issue needs a 57.14% majority to pass.

Strafford bond issue and tax levy
Voters in the Strafford School District will weigh in on two ballot measures.

One is a $10 million bond issue to address renovations, improvements, additions, and safety and security needs of the district. The issue would not increase the adjusted debt service tax rate, which would remain at 70 cents per $100 assessed valuation. It would seek to furnish classroom additions and make renovations to the Lucille Cogdill Early Childhood Center, allowing the facility to serve roughly 150 preschool students, school officials estimate. The center currently serves 65 students, according to the school district website.

The bond issue needs a 57.14% majority to pass.

The ballot also includes Proposition 2, an operating tax levy increase proposal for the purposes of attracting and retaining quality certified, support and safety faculty and staff, maintaining facilities and meeting additional operating expenses.

If approved, the operating tax levy would increase 35 cents to $3.10 per $100 of assessed valuation. The levy hike roughly would generate an additional $884,467 per year, according to the school website.


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