Last edited 10:18 a.m., April 4, 2019
Springfield voters passed a school bond initiative on a second attempt and added a new face to City Council at the ballot box yesterday.
Proposition S, the $168 million bond proposal by Springfield Public Schools, was approved with 61 percent of the popular vote in Greene County, according to the preliminary election results posted at GreeneCountyMo.gov. In Missouri, laws governing bond elections require 57.14 percent of the vote to pass.
The bond issuance allows SPS to move forward on making 39 facility improvement projects funded by an 18-cent debt-service levy phased in over two years.
SPS Superintendent John Jungmann signaled his thanks to the Springfield community in a statement provided by district spokeswoman Teresa Bledsoe.
“While our schools are so much more than brick and mortar, we understand that the students we serve deserve the best learning environments that we can provide,” Jungmann said.
Voters shot down a 2017 proposal by SPS to issue $189 million in bonds for facility improvements.
A new face on Springfield City Council is Abe McGull, who ran unopposed for Tom Prater Zone 2 seat. Prater did not seek re-election. McGull is an assistant U.S. attorney practicing in criminal and civil litigation, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In the contested races, incumbent Zone 3 Councilman Mike Schilling defeated Noah Snelson. Schilling received nearly 75 percent of the votes.
Councilman Andrew Lear, who last year was appointed to finish former Councilwoman Kristi Fulnecky’s term, won with 49 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race. He was chosen over Jaye Owens, 15.8 percent, and Amy Champlin, 35 percent, for General Seat C.
Mayor Ken McClure, Zone 4 Councilman Matthew Simpson — who took over last year for Craig Fishel — and General Seat D Councilman Richard Ollis all ran unopposed for re-election.
The council members were elected to four-year terms, with McClure filling a two-year term as mayor.
Also, the city’s quarter-cent capital improvement sales tax was renewed with 77.4 percent of voter approval. The tax has generated around $250 million since its inception 30 years ago.
With the latest approval, the city received permission for a 20-year sunset officials say will allow all project phases to be completed in one cycle, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting. Plans call for road, bridge, stormwater and sidewalk projects through the tax expected to generate $11 million annually.
For the two open seats on the SPS Board of Education, incumbents Alina Lehnert and Charles Taylor were selected by voters. Shurita Thomas-Tate lost in the three-candidate race. Lehnert received 37 percent of the vote, with Taylor taking 35.6 percent and Thomas-Tate earning 26 percent.
Voter turnout was 17.3 percent, according to the Greene County clerk’s summary report.
Nixa, Branson votes
Voters in Nixa passed two issues to shore up funding for Nixa Public Schools.
The district received the green light for a $15 million debt-service bond issue that did not raise taxes. Voters also approved a levy increase of 41 cents for teacher salaries, as well as construction and renovation projects.
In Branson, incumbent Mayor Karen Best was defeated by Edd Akers, who secured 50.8 percent of the vote, according to Taney County’s unofficial results from last night. Best was elected mayor in April 2015.
The newest facility for Springfield-based preschool and early child care operator Little Sunshine’s Enterprises Inc. opened; a love of food and cooking spurred Brian Keener to launch Contorto; and a CrossFit gym in Marshfield changed owners.