Vote YES for Cassville kids

Thursday, March 30, 2006

By now, voters in the Cassville R-IV School District should realize an important issue will be decided in the polls Tuesday, April 4. The R-IV District is seeking approval of a bond issue and levy proposal (Proposition #1 and #2) that would provide funding for construction of a new building to serve fourth and fifth grade students and additions to the existing high school facility.

Gold and black "Vote Yes on April 4 for Cassville Kids" signs serve as a reminder of next week's vote, and we hope district patrons have paid attention to news articles, advertisements and brochures that have attempted to get as much information out as possible out to voters. District officials worked hard to create a plan that would appeal to area voters while also meeting the needs of a growing school population. The R-IV School Board backed off an earlier proposal to build a new primary school off-site on property located on Highway 248. This issue was rejected by voters twice, and the school board responded by seeking patron input and devising a plan that incorporated the opinions and concerns of local voters. As some of the campaign literature has stated, "You spoke and we listened." School board members set aside their own desires and instead sought public input and changed their proposal accordingly. We applaud this type of action by a school board and believe their actions should be rewarded by approval of the ballot issue.

There is no question that the Cassville R-IV School District needs room to grow. The proposal that will appear on Tuesday's ballot is conservative but should provide room to expand for the next 10 to 20 years. The issue would also result in more room for all grade levels. By moving fourth and fifth grades into a new building, both the primary and middle schools would gain classroom space. This would allow the district to move classes out of trailers and address issues of class size. Adding onto the high school would allow each teacher to have their own classroom while also providing space for more science laboratories to meet changing state curriculum requirements. The issue would also allow popular programs to expand. Specifically, these programs include vo-ag, technology, industrial arts and vocal and instrumental music.

It's a plan that makes sense and deserves voter approval. What makes the proposal even more appealing is the fact that it can be accomplished without an increase in the overall tax levy. And speaking of this, let us alert readers to the fact that the ballot language can seem confusing. When you vote "Yes" on Propositions #1 and #2, you are giving the district permission to finance new construction and additions to existing buildings and also okaying a shift in the district's levy amounts. This is a no tax increase issue. Don't let the ballot language confuse you. The district will be reducing its debt service levy by 20 cents and increasing its operating levy by 20 cents, which is a wash. The total tax levy amount will remain unchanged.

We strongly urge R-IV District patrons to approve Propositions #1 and #2 on the April 4 ballot. Cassville students need more room, and the time to provide additional space is now. The growth in northwest Arkansas is already impacting this area, and we don't want to have to play catch-up when it comes to the education of our children. Building costs and interest rates are also on the rise, so now is the time to start a construction project. The longer we wait, the more expensive the proposal becomes.

The time is right, the time is now. Vote YES on April 4 for Cassville Kids. Let's show Cassville students we are willing to invest in their futures.