Camdenton R-III School District's bond issue on the April 2 ballot is proposed to address current and future space issues at elementary buildings throughout the district as well as provide equitable educational facilities without a tax increase, according to Superintendent Dr. Tim Hadfield.
Camdenton R-III communities saw high growth rates in population from 2000 to 2010, according to U.S. Census data. The increases were higher than anticipated based on prior surveys.
The City of Camdenton had one of the biggest rate and actual population increases in the lake area. It saw a 34 percent increase in the decade between the 2000 and 2010 surveys. The one-third increase in size from 2,779 to 3,718 was roughly equivalent to adding the entire City of Laurie within Camdenton over that time period.
The cities of Osage Beach and Sunrise Beach also saw significant increases. The county overall had a 17 percent increase in population, most of which was within the Camdenton R-III School District.
Now, the district is seeing that population spike reflected in its elementary classrooms.
The preschool-2nd grade Dogwood Elementary had an enrollment of 842 around the beginning of the 2012-13 school year - Sept. 30, 2012. The building, which serves an area extending from Camdenton north to the Hurricane Deck Bridge - has a capacity of 848.
Typically, Dogwood has 11 sections of kindergarten, according to Hadfield, but after enrollment in August 2012, administration was surprised by a significant increase. The district added two more sections of kindergarten and hired new teachers after school had already started to meet the need.
Osage Beach Elementary was essentially at capacity at the beginning of the school year with an enrollment of 223 students and a building capacity of 240. It had to turn a vestibule area into a classroom to meet demands this year.
Hurricane Deck Elementary in Sunrise Beach is not far behind in nearing the capacity of its building. There were 161 students enrolled at the building which has a capacity of 223.
The school board has proposed the bond issue to ensure adequate facilities for students throughout the district during students' formative years in elementary education. The district already has a new high school; a portion of the proposed bond issue would refinance lease purchase certificates that provided supplemental financing for the high school.
Both Osage Beach and Hurricane Deck had lower educational adequacy scores on a facility study of the district done in 2010.
Classrooms and special learning areas such as libraries and media rooms were considered small in addition to the total number of classrooms being limited. The "gymacafetorium" - the multi-purpose room that is a cafeteria, auditorium and small scale gym for P.E. and afterschool activities - at each school also limits scheduling and is too small for many events.
Page 2 of 3 - Dogwood Elementary, however, has a good facility in regards to classroom size, cafeteria and special learning and event areas. It is just nearing capacity.
The bond issue would alleviate both current capacity and equality issues at these facilities, according to Hadfield.
If the proposal to build a new Osage Beach Elementary at a new location on Nichols Rd. and a renovated and significantly-expanded Hurricane Deck Elementary go forward, the attendance area of these elementary schools will be reconfigured to alleviate capacity issues as well as provide adequate facilities for the current Osage Beach and Hurricane Deck patrons. For example, the Hurricane Deck area would expand south of the Hurricane Deck Bridge - how far south has not yet been determined - to prevent overcrowding at Dogwood.
Dogwood and other buildings on the main campus will also be remodeled to provide the enhanced security that will be built in to the new Osage Beach Elementary and the expanded Hurricane Deck Elementary.
The construction projects are anticipated to provide additional space for future growth as well in these three upward moving communities.
With continuing infrastructure improvements in the area, more growth is expected as well by local city officials.
Preliminary plans for Osage Beach Elementary
Four part two-story building with 81,845 total square feet
New location down Nichols Rd. across from Sycamore Creek Golf Course
24 classrooms with a few additional rooms available for overflow classrooms
Gym and cafeteria with a performance area accessible by both
Art and music classrooms close to the gym and cafeteria
Kindergarten and preschool classrooms close to the school's entrance
Preliminary plans for Hurricane Deck Elementary
Office area, gym and classrooms built in the 1950s will be torn down, but the library area and newer classroom wing will remain.
The renovated and expanded building will be one story for a total of 75,801 square feet.
The addition will be more than 59,000 square feet of the total.
A courtyard will be built between the media center and kindergarten hallway.
$43 million total in general obligation bonds
$20 million for construction and equipping of a new elementary school in Osage Beach at new location
$14 million for repairs, renovation, expansion and equipping of Hurricane Deck Elementary
$1 million for security upgrades at existing school facilities
$8 million for refinancing lease purchase certificates that provided supplemental funding for the new high school
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Cost to property owners
There will be no additional tax levied to fund construction. The monies will come from the current operating levy, but the board must get voter approval for the tax-exempt general obligation bonds and to transfer a portion of the operating levy into debt service. Debt service is required to for general obligation bonds.
The ballot question includes the statement, "The District's debt service tax levy is estimated to increase approximately 11 cents, from $0.20 to $0.31 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation."
While that sounds like a tax increase, it is not. The debt service will increase from 20 cents to 31 cents because the board will transfer 11 cents of operating from its capital projects fund to its debt service fund.
If approved, the overall levy will remain $2.87 per $100 of assessed valuation.
If the issue is not approved, the overall levy will remain $2.87 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Effect on Property tax rate
$0.20 Debt service
$0.16 Capital projects
Total of $2.87
With No Tax Increase Bond Issue
$0.31 Debt service
$0.05 Capital projects
Total of $2.87