ASH GROVE, Mo. – School leaders in Ash Grove said something must change to keep up with the growing number of students.

This April, the school district is asking voters to approve a bond issue to help fund various building improvements.

“We’re going to add six new classrooms, storage facilities and things that would go with that, and then a safe room/gymnasium,” said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Gerla. 

Currently, some school operations had to be moved out to a trailer at the back of campus. 

Gerla said that shows the need for expansion.

On top of that, he said a FEMA style safe room would help the entire community.

“We talk all the time about safety and security being our number one priority with our kids,” said Gerla. “You know, even before we educate them, we’ve got to make sure they’re safe. We’ve seen videos of tornadoes and other severe storms coming through towns and what it’s done. We want to make sure our kids are safe.”

The ballot question reads as follows: 

“Shall the Board of Education of the Ash Grove R-IV School District, Missouri, borrow money in the amount of Nine Million Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($9,400,000) for the purpose of providing funds for the site development, construction, equipping, and furnishing of additional restrooms, classroom space and a gymnasium to Ash Grove Elementary (that will also function as a saferoom for the entire Ash Grove campus); to the extent funds are available, complete other remodeling, repairs, and improvements to the existing facilities of the District; and issue general obligation bonds for the payment thereof resulting in an estimated increase to the debt service property tax levy of $0.3000 per hundred dollars of assessed valuation?

If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the School District is estimated to increase from $0.6978 to $0.9978 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.”

School leaders and parents acknowledged that money is tight for many families right now. 

Some said approving the measure is what has to be done to help the community.