R-IV ballot issues will benefit CHS students

Thursday, March 23, 2006

On April 4, the Cassville R-IV School District will ask patrons to approve bond issue and levy proposals, which would, in part, fund the construction and operation of additional classroom space at Cassville High School.

"The hallways at Cassville High School could be compared to fitting several people in a telephone booth," said Brittney Gatley, CHS sophomore. "Walking down the halls shoulder to shoulder with other students is very common.

"With another large class coming to the high school next year, the problem will only get worse," said Gatley. "A new hallway added to the facility would be very helpful."

By voting "Yes" on Propositions 1 and 2, voters will approve bond and levy proposals for a new 42,000-square-foot addition at the elementary campus and add 21,765-square-feet of classroom space at the high school building.

The additions at the high school will provide classrooms and additional space for music and vocational programs.

When the current Cassville High School facility opened for classes over 10 years ago, 515 students attended the facility. In September of 2005, the enrollment at CHS had grown to 685 students.

Although the capacity of the building has been estimated to be between 700 and 750 students, current crowded conditions at the facility indicate that the building has been at or near capacity for several years, said Brad Hanson, high school principal.

"We currently have four teachers that do not have their own classrooms," said Hanson. "Even if we were able to hire new teachers to meet the demands of the ever-increasing enrollment, we would not have any place to put them."

Bonnie Cox, CHS health and physical education teacher, is one of the four faculty members without a classroom. Cox has been a "floating" teacher over the past few years.

"Floating" teachers trans-port their classroom supplies and materials between vacant classrooms on utility carts. Schedules are structured to allow "floating" teachers to use classrooms while regular classroom teachers take advantage of advisory time.

"Being a floating teacher is extremely frustrating, because it is very difficult to be as prepared as you would like for daily class activities," said Cox.

Traveling between different classrooms does not give Cox the time to place introductory materials on blackboards to get students involved in the learning process. "Floating" teachers arrive in the classroom at the same time as students do.

"Not being able to stay late in the classroom to provide assistance to a student with needs for fear of being late to your next destination or because the regular teacher will be starting their next hour class soon certainly inhibits the help a 'floating' teacher can be to his or her students during the day," said Cox.

The proposed building plan includes expansion in two areas at the high school.

A 9,515-square-foot addi-tion, which will be constructed at the south end of the building, will house additional classrooms, a science laboratory area, additional restroom facilities, a south hallway connecting the east and west academic hallways and additional storage.

A 12,250-square-foot, two-level expansion behind the school would house a larger agriculture and technology education facility. The addition would free additional space in the existing school building for the growth of the instrumental education programs.

The proposed addition at the south of the present academic hallways would add four classrooms, which would serve an additional 100 students and give each "floating" teacher a classroom of their own.

The agriculture and techno-logy education addition would free up space for another four classrooms further increasing the available space for student enrollment growth and addi-tional teachers.

"Our current proposed plan will not only provide the space needed to fulfill our current needs, but it should also give us some ample room to grow should our enrollment continue to increase," said Hanson. "These expansions will also provide room to place new faculty in the future to keep our class sizes at the optimum levels for student learning."

The addition at the south of the academic hallways will also provide a connecting hallway that will make travel between areas easier.

The project will require a 32-cent debt service levy to pay off the project amount over 20 years. An operating levy increase of 20 cents would be necessary to staff and operate all district buildings. The debt service levy and operating levy totals would equal the current school tax rate and therefore not increase the school taxes in the district.

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