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A renovation of Pershing K-8 is among projects proposed in the bond issue.
SBJ file
A renovation of Pershing K-8 is among projects proposed in the bond issue.

SPS board set to vote next month on $220M bond issue

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The Springfield Public Schools Board of Education is scheduled to vote Dec. 13 on whether to send a $220 million bond proposal to voters.

John Mulford, deputy superintendent of operations, shared the voting date at yesterday's livestreamed board meeting.

"If approved, then we will place it on the ballot for voters to consider in April," Mulford said.

Mulford also shared the proposed ballot language for Proposition S. New to the ballot language, compared with the successful bond issue approved in 2019, are specific projects that are being proposed, he said.

The Prop S ballot proposal reads as follows:

"Shall the School District of Springfield R-XII issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of $220,000,000 for the purpose of constructing, improving, extending, repairing, rebuilding, renovating, acquiring, furnishing and equipping new and existing school facilities and purchasing land therefor, including (1) constructing a new Pipkin Middle School and a new Reed Middle School, (2) renovating and rebuilding Pershing School, and (3) constructing and installing storm shelters at six elementary schools and safety and security upgrades at all school facilities?

"If this proposition is approved, it is estimated that there will be no increase to District's debt service property tax levy and it will remain at $0.7300 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property."

Mulford said the project list cited in the potential ballot language "calls out the things that we are committing to getting done." The proposed language in the ballot measure, he said, is broad enough that it "allows us to do any renovation or construction needed within the district."

Mulford added that district communication staff are preparing a public information campaign to inform voters ahead of the April election, should the board give its approval next month.

The Community Task Force on Facilities appointed by the SPS board in October made recommendations for the $220 million bond proposal, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

The task force recommended funding new buildings for Pipkin Middle School and Robberson Community School, renovations for Pershing K-8, as well as safety and security projects. A new Reed Middle School also was recommended, if funding allows.

The cost breakdown, in order of priority recommended by the task force, is as follows:
• Pipkin Middle School, $53 million;
• Safety and security projects, $37.4 million;
• Pershing K-8 renovation, $50.5 million;
• Robberson Community School, $31.7 million; and
• Reed Middle School, $59.5 million.

At the meeting yesterday, Mulford said the ballot language would allow the district to issue up to $220 million in bonds. Less may be issued, depending on the market, he said, but $220 million would be the cap.

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