SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – In two months, Proposition S will go on the ballot here in Springfield.
This is a 168 million dollar bond that will be used for renovations, security improvements and a new childhood education center. This will be Springfield’s second attempt to get the bond passed.
Some voters complained they didn’t have enough information to say yes in 2017.
25,000 students attend Springfield’s 53 public schools.
31 of those schools are in desperate need of security upgrades. David Hall, Co-Chair of the Community Task Force on Facilities explains how the proposed bond money would be used for security improvements and says, “what we found is across the system there was many of those who did not have the secure vestibles that we would want within our school system in this day and age and that was one of our highest priorities to make sure that those got done.”
Reed Middle School is one of the schools without a secure vestible. After a person buzzes into the school, they have free access to roam the school without ever checking into the office. Teacher, Rich Dameron says his school needs better security and says, “it could be more secure to where you’re like meeting a person, someone is seeing you. I know in some of our buildings, it’s less than ideal of what we have to where there’s a long way between you and the person that needs to check you in.”
Eight other Springfield schools including Jarret Middle School and Sunshine Elementary will be renovated while others will be demolished and rebuilt.
Hall says, “boyd is one of those that’s in an area of town, it’s an old building, and it just wasn’t feasible to be able to renovate it so instead the decision was let’s go ahead and just tear it town and build a new one.”
Unlike the last bond proposal, combining schools won’t be a part of the new proposal because voters complained.
Hall explains, “during the original proposal, it included consolidated campuses whether you would have an elementary school and a middle school both on the same piece of property and that was one of the major things that was going to occur with that.”
To fund all of the proposed projects, it’ll cost 168 million dollars. For a person who owns a $100,000 home, you’ll pay $2.85 a month or $34.20 annually on top of what you already pay for property taxes.
Hall says, “last time, it would have been about 25% more than that.” and “what we were told by the voters the last time is that was just too much, that they just couldn’t afford it, that’s when we came back and said we’re going to have to bring that in less.”
Reed Middle School Teacher Rich Damerson says the district needs the additional money so the schools catch up with the times and says, “a lot of our buildings, they need that attention, they need that renovation, they need that you know new construction type of deal to bring them up, to make them to where they are more modern, they are more useful. A lot of our buildings, the way they currently are, they were built many, many years ago, they were built for what the need was then, but we have buildings that they don’t meet the need of now.
The projects are expected to be finished by 2022. April 2 is when you can head to the polls to vote on the bond proposal.