The Marquand-Zion School District is asking voters to approve a no-tax-increase bond issue titled Keep Improving District Schools (KIDS).
The proposition will be on the April 3 ballot, and, if passed, would allow the district to sell bonds to allow for major renovations to the school.
The following improvements have been proposed in order to improve the facilities and safety of the district:
- Add a fence between the high school and new gym.
- Put fencing around the playground and buildings.
- Upgrade the exterior camera system.
- Install an interior camera system.
- Make repairs to the old gym floor.
- Paint the new gym.
- Renovate the weight rooms into locker rooms.
- Renovate flooring in gym/concession stand areas.
- New roof on the middle school and elementary school buildings.
- New retaining wall between the field and parking lot.
- Replace the main parking lot.
"The Marquand-Zion Board is asking for $340,000 so we can pay for it without a tax increase," Marquand-Zion Superintendent Scott Blake said. "Give us $326,540 to use on the project. Any additional needed will cause the project to be cut back or the board to use reserve funds."
The district currently has a bond capacity of $775,000 but asking for more than the $340,000 would result in asking for a tax increase.
"This is essentially an extension of the bonds we already had," Blake said. "Taxes will not increase they will just continue they way they have been."
Currently the R-VI Board has voted to proceed with the $340,000 bond referendum and has reviewed information and chosen to use Dille Traxel Architecture for the project.
"Phase one of the design begins before the bond election," Blake said. "We will define the scope of work in more detail including preliminary plans, cost estimates and presentation drawings for the campaign drive. Then it will be presented at the February Board meeting."
Once the bond has been approved the district will begin gathering schematics, construction documents, project bidding and construction observation.
"The current bonds will be paid off on March 1, 2022," Blake said. "If this bond is approved, it will have a payoff date of March 1, 2033. This is a no-tax-increase bond issue. Think of it as a tax extension."
The board has shown its ability to create savings when it comes to the bonds in the past. In 2012, when building the new gym, a refunding of the outstanding bonds saved $10,159 in interest. The board has also made $125,000 in bond principal prepayments in the past two years saving the district $23,250 in interest for the life of the bond.
If the district receives approval--a 4/7 majority is needed to pass the bond referendum--there will be a 30-day wait time in case of a dispute and then L.J. Hart & Associates will prepare a prospectus.
"Anyone interested in purchasing securities can do this by contacting L.J. Hart & Associates, myself or your financial manager," Blake said. "The minimum purchase is $5,000. Once the bonds are sold, we can begin the projects and would like to begin in June of this year."
The board has been working to improve all areas of the district. It adopted a comprehensive school improvement plan (CSIP) June 20, 2017. The plan outlined five goals; Develop and enhance the quality of educational instruction programs, increase college and career readiness, improve district facilities and safety, facility improvement and improve governance and finances of the district.
While the bond issue covers mainly goals three and four, the district is working on all of them simultaneously.
"Goal one is something that every school works on continuously by reviewing and revising curriculum," Blake said. " The addition of professional development of high quality, research-based teaching strategies and updating the district textbooks to reflect and cover all of the MO Learning Standards."
"Goal two is college and career readiness," Blake said. "This is a large area. Most of our strategies include high school program changes, increase offerings, and starting in elementary to prepare all students to be in college and career ready."
"Goals three and four are the focus on the need to improve the facilities and keep our students safe," Blake said. "This is what we need the approval of the bond issue to accomplish."
"Goal five is to meet the first four goals while building some cash reserves for times of emergency or need," Blake said. "We have done a lot of work and made many gains the past five years on all five goals."
Proposition KIDS will be on the April 3 ballot. Anyone with additional questions can contact Superintendent Scott Blake at 573-783-3388.