In what appears to be an act of solidarity, the Camdenton school board unanimously approved to move forward with a ballot measure that would allow the district to expand two elementary schools without burdening taxpayers with an increase in taxes.
The school board was looking at two different ballot issues to fund construction projects at Osage Beach and Hurricane Deck elementary buildings. The other option was to ask voters to approve a 10 cent increase to the district's total levy.
Under the proposal approved by the board during an early morning meeting on Tuesday, taxpayers will not see an increase. The board has been discussing the options and needs of the district's two outlying elementary schools for quite some time. The board was up against the deadline for filing ballot issues for the April election.
Camdenton is one of three lake area districts taking proposals to voters this spring. The funds will allow the district to accommodate the growing student population at Hurricane Deck and Osage Beach elementary buildings.
The board is simply proposing a plan that would refinance bonds that the district already has and will funnels funds into different accounts. If this passes, the district will have general bonds in the amount of $43 million.
The need for additional space has been under discussion for quite some time. "Our patron panel has been talking to us about equity that they would like to see in our facilties. It doesnt matter where you live in the district , you should have access to the same resources," Superintendent Tim Hadfield said. "We are growing at the elementary level. We have a building at capacity in Osage Beach and we are needing to plan for the future."
According to school officials, the ballot language is easily misinterpreted. The language reads as if the levy is being increased. In reality, the levy will remain at the current levy of $2.87 per $100 of assessed valuation.
What happens once voters approve the proposal is the district's debt service tax levy will increase approximately 11 cents, from $0.20 to $0.31. The 11 cents will move from the capital project fund, allowing the district to refinance without passing on any additional taxes to the voters.
Hadfield added that $35 million of the bonds will be used strictly for the elementary construction projects and for security upgrades on the main campus.
The district is currently working alongside an architectural firm to design plans for a brand new Osage Beach Elementary and to expand and renovate the current Hurricane Deck Elementary. The school board plans to look over drawings and sketches at its regularly scheduled February meeting.