A strong showing of support

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I couldn't be prouder of Cassville R-IV School District voters who gave their overwhelming approval to a bond issue and levy proposal in last Tuesday's election. Voter turnout could have been higher, but it was still very clear that local voters support their school district.

The building proposal didn't just pass, it passed by a landslide. It was great to see a front page article in the Joplin Globe listing all the area school districts that passed election issues on April 4. Cassville's approval percentage of 79 percent led all area districts. The next closest approval margin was in Webb City where a $4 million bond issue garnered a 67.8 approval percentage.

After the R-IV District's bond issue proposals were defeated in 2002 and 2004, I questioned how a community could deny a school district when need was presented. I know the editorials I wrote following those elections were very critical in nature. The results of last week's election have renewed my faith in the community and make me feel very hopeful about the district's future.

Hindsight usually brings clarity, and it was clear in 2002 and 2004 that area voters were not ready to see the R-IV District build a new facility off site from the present campus. Voters also appeared unlikely to support a tax increase. After canvassing community opinion, the R-IV School Board went back to the drawing board and came up with a plan that would meet the district's needs while also meeting community expectations.

Tuesday's vote proved that compromise works. The high approval margin also reveals that voters appreciate when elected officials involve them in the decision-making process. I wholeheartedly believe a big factor in getting this bond issue passed was the school board's willingness to change their course of action and pursue a more conservative approach based on constituent input. Voters rewarded the school board's actions by passing the issue by a wide margin.

It will be exciting to watch the building plan move forward and to know the district will be ready to handle continued growth in the years to come. This election should give teachers, students and administrators a real morale boost, proving to them that the community cares about the school and wants to provide students with the best facilities possible. For any community to grow and prosper, it must have a strong school system as its foundation. This is especially true in smaller towns where the school serves as the very heart of the community.

Again, we'd like to thank area voters for approving the R-IV School District ballot proposals, and we'd like to thank members of the school board who showed great discernment and leadership in presenting the public with a plan they could support. And as always, we're grateful to our school district administrators, teachers and staff members for their commitment to excellence and their commitment to our children.