What's going on
Camdenton R-III school officials were on hand Wednesday evening at the district's first informational meeting to explain and answer questions about the proposed no-tax-increase bond issue that's on the April 2 ballot. Chair of the citizens committee supporting the issue, Ron Duggan, provided food at the hearing from 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 13 at Hurricane Deck Elementary (HDE) in Sunrise Beach. The next briefing will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, March 18, at Osage Beach Elementary (OBE). Appetizers and refreshments will also be provided at this meeting.
What's the issue
The board of education is seeking a $43 million general obligation bond issue that can be done without a tax increase by shifting a portion of its operating levy from the capital improvement fund to debt service. Debt service levy is required for general obligation tax-exempt bonds that have lower interest rates than private financing. General obligation bonds require voter approval. The proposal would allow the board to save money by refinancing the remainder of the lease purchase certificates that funded the new high school, but the majority of the funding - around $35 million - would pay for construction of a new OBE at new location, a major renovation and expansion of HDE and security upgrades to all buildings.
Why it's important
Officials are concerned that the ballot language is confusing because it does not clearly explain that there is no tax increase needed to fund the debt service. The district just needs authorization to change part of its operating levy into a debt service levy. Because of the possible confusion, they are holding a series of hearings on the issue. The main goal of the construction projects are to provide equal educational adequacy among its elementary facilities and provide space for anticipated future growth. Both OBE and HDE received lower educational adequacy scores on a district-wide facility study. OBE is currently at capacity. Officials also say the expansion at HDE would allow the facility room for growth on the Westside as well as extend the life of Dogwood Elementary in Camdenton by expanding HDE's attendance boundary further south beyond the Hurricane Deck Bridge.