SPRINGFIELD – When you’re the principal of a century old middle school, you can find yourself yearning for modern conveniences.
“The thought of having a brand new building that is customized to the things we do today, customized to be able to use the technology we use now, even electrical outlets in the classrooms would be pretty awesome.”
According to Rob Kroll, the principal at Jarrett Middle School the building has outgrown the bustling 3.5-acre plot near Missouri State University.
“We have a green space in the back, but it’s not large enough to facilitate the extracurricular activities, our sports, our PE classes, all things that we would really like to do,” Kroll said.
But if the 168 million dollar bond proposal passes, Jarrett will be rebuilt on a spacious ten acres surrounded by neighborhoods. The current occupant of that property is Portland Elementary, which is going through some growing pains of its own.
Portland’s Principal Kara Boehmer showed us the security risks the building currently has.
“When visitors come in to the building, they buzz in right outside the door here, and our secretary is right inside this office,” Boehmer said. “So as they come in, they really have access to the entire building.”
Students at Portland would move a mile down the road to a renovated Sunshine Elementary if the proposition passes, a building that would be updated to be safer for students and staff and would be better suited to handle the technological demands of the modern learning environment.
“When you have a location and a building that feels safe, and is comfortable, it creates an environment for more productive learning to occur,” Boehmer said.
Some Portland families are excited about the upgrades to the schools. Ron Koff has a grandchild in the third grade.
“I would like to see it updated, upgraded and rebuilt I guess,” Koff said.
But some that we spoke with say the bond doesn’t go far enough. Morris Lynn has a third-grader at Portland as, and while he says he is in favor of the upgraded facilities, he believes the district is forgetting about one important group, the teachers.
“A school is no good without good teachers, and they need at least a five percent or more pay raise or at least 3 percent a year until they catch up,” Lynn said. “It’s really pitiful for someone that watches your kids for 8 hours, educates them, takes care of them, it’s a thankless job in a lot of ways.”
Many Springfield voters also shared concerns with a similar bond measure in 20-17 that failed to pass. Voters will have another opportunity to say yes or no when the polls open on April 2.