Voters to decide safety issue
Southwest R-5 School District voters will once again have the opportunity to decide on a $1.5 million bond issue, Proposition Safety, in the upcoming Aug. 7 election.
The bond, if approved will finance a new music room at the high school as well as elementary and middle school offices.
The 4,000-square-foot music room is planned for construction on the east side of the school, providing for band and choir practices in one facility, as well as classroom space.
"This will prevent our students from having to travel outside of the building, in the elements, to reach their classes or the cafeteria," said Bob Walker, Southwest District superintendent. "Students will be enclosed under a walkway."
The bond will also fund construction of a shared office space for middle and elementary school administrators. Plans call for construction to take place between the elementary and middle school, east of the kindergarten through eighth grade cafeteria.
"This will provide a single entry point for all visitors," said Walker. "Currently, the elementary office is located in the middle of the hallway. The building was designed back when security wasn't as much of an issue."
Security cameras will also be installed at all school entrances and in the remainder of the bus fleet.
"Entrances will be access controlled," Walker continued. "Visitors will have to be buzzed in while classes are in session and students are on campus.
"The district is trying to be proactive," Walker said. "We have a preventive mind set. In this day, it is becoming necessary to take steps to ensure the safety of our students and staffers. We are trying to get things in place to more effectively monitor kids."
The proposal will require no increase for district taxpayers.
"The bond issue is not expected to raise the district's debt service tax levy," said Walker. "This is just a necessary step for the district to take. Our campus is all spread out and these changes will cut down on the amount of student travel while keeping the campus secure and as safe as possible."
The measure was approved by nearly 54 percent of the voters last April, but the measure calls for a 58 percent approval rate.
"We are hoping the voters will give us those extra percentage points we need in August," Walker said.