R-IV voters will decide bond issue

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Cassville R-IV School Board voted Jan. 12 to place a $7.1 million bond issue on the April 4 ballot.

If approved, the district would construct a two-story, 41,000-square-foot fourth and fifth grade intermediate school building on the existing R-IV campus just north of the Rock Gym where the "White House" now sits.

The bond issue would also provide funding for a classroom addition at the high school as well as construction of a self-contained industrial arts/vocational agriculture building. The addition at the high school would add four new classrooms and bathrooms at the south end of the building.

Based on preliminary architect's estimates, construc-tion of the new intermediate building would cost around $4.5 million. Classroom additions at the high school would carry a $1 million price tag and the cost to build a vo-ag building would be around $1.2 million.

"With the planned additions, the district believes it can provide space for 675 kids," said Superintendent Jim Orrell.

The fourth and fifth grade building has been designed so that it could be enlarged and eight more classes added if bids should come in lower than expected. These classrooms would be used for third grade, Orrell said.

The superintendent also pointed out that the bond issue could be completed without a tax increase.

"This will done at no extra cost to the taxpayers," said Orrell. "They will not see their taxes go up a penny more than what they're currently paying."

In addition, the board will be asking voters to approve a 20-cent increase in the district's operating levy. Although the district is seeking to raise its operating revenue, the increase will not result in taxpayers paying additional money.

The board is simply asking voters to allow the district to shift 20 cents from the current 52-cent debt service levy to the operating fund. The district will be able to finance the $7.1 million bond issue with a 32-cent debt service levy, according to Orrell.

If project bids were to come in above the $7.1 million mark, Orrell said the district will use its existing capital balance to complete the construction project.

School officials have also applied for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If approved, the grant money would be used to construct a tornado shelter in the basement of the new intermediate building.

Currently, the City of Cassville does not have a designated tornado shelter large enough to hold hundreds of students, teachers and area residents. Orrell said the district would be pleased to provide such a shelter to the community if grant funding is approved.

"This shelter would be open to the public," Orrell said.

The grant application has been submitted to FEMA, but the district does not know how soon grant awards will be made.

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