The School of the Osage will host an open house and informational meeting Thursday at the Heritage Building in Lake Ozark for anyone interested in learning more about the school bond initiative on the April 2 ballot.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with an informational presentation at 7. The meeting will be held in the main gym of the Heritage Building, 1501 School Road, Lake Ozark. The Heritage Building is located directly behind Mills Elementary School. Persons interested in taking a tour are welcome to do so after the presentation.
The $22 million bond, proposed by the School of the Osage Board of Education, addresses pre-k to second grade overcrowding at the Mills Elementary School, security improvements to existing schools and updating of the high school science labs.
The current school tax rate is $2.72, the lowest in the state. The bond asks for a 12.9-cent increase bringing the new rate to $2.849, which is still less than surrounding communities. On average, a property with a $100,000 assessed value will have a $24.51 annual increase in taxes.
Mills Elementary is the oldest student occupied building in the district with small classrooms, inadequate administrative space, and no room for expansion, according to school officials. To accommodate student enrollment, the library has been reduced to half its size and converted for use as two classrooms. Storage closets have been eliminated to provide administrative staff with needed room. School officials say Mills Elementary is currently at capacity and unable to accommodate anticipated future student enrollment and forecasted community growth.
The proposed bond would fund a 24-classroom elementary school addition to the Heritage Building, as well as renovations and improvements to the existing Heritage Building and campus. The elementary school addition will increase the number and size of classrooms and provide technology needed for current teaching methods. Construction plans include elevator and ADA access, and energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling. The Heritage campus will benefit with improved parent and bus drop-off and pickup, increased and improved parking and improved security and safety measures.
After carefully considering several site and costs options, the board of education, with input from the Facilities Planning Steering Committee, chose to retain and improve the Heritage campus, thus saving nearly $6 million over the cost of constructing a new similarly sized building and elementary school campus. This will not require the relocation of elementary grade students during construction, and it uses an existing campus. School officials say renovating the Heritage Building will provide Osage students with a link to the past and an understanding of the rich and full history of the School of the Osage School District.
The bond will also fund necessary security improvements to existing schools to help ensure safe and secure facilities. High School science labs will be will be updated to encourage and enhance student performance in an academic area that has grown within the district.
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School of the Osage is recognized as one of the top six of all Missouri K-12 grade schools based on the new Missouri School Improvement Program. Standards include academic achievement, college and career readiness, attendance and graduation rates. The District also continues its “Accredited with Distinction in Performance” status. The Osage Board of Education was honored with “Board of the Year” consideration and Osage students continue to receive numerous awards for academics, athletics and music competitions.
For additional information contact Dr. Brent Depeé, Superintendent of Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org, 573-365-4091; or Tony Hermann, assistant superintendent, email@example.com, 573-365-4091.