SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Springfield voters will now decide in April on the biggest bond issue in the history of Springfield Public Schools, after the school board approved a $190 million bonding package at its meeting Tuesday night.

The bonds would cover phase one of a planned, more than $300 million, two-phase overhaul of all of the facilities in the district. 

After both phases, four schools would be closed.

Through renovations and upgrades, no facilities would be considered “poor,” “unsatisfactory,” or “fair” under the criteria the district used when planning the bond issues.

“We’re doing the best we can to keep the older buildings up,” said Board President Denise Frederick. “But — they’re still not built for children that need to learn in the 21st century — so that’s what we want to do with our new buildings.”

The issue on the April ballot calls for an increase in the district’s debt service levy from 55 cents to 79 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. That’s an increase of $46 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.

Phase two will need to be approved by voters in a few years, but it is not expected to require an increase in property taxes.