Voters yesterday gave the green light to $80.5 million in local school district bond issues.
A $32 million bond issue for the Logan-Rogersville School District was approved overwhelmingly.
The measure was supported by 77.6% of the 580 voters, according to unofficial election results tracked by Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller's office.
"We are so grateful for a community that supports kids and public education," district officials said in a Facebook post this morning.
School officials have said the bond issue won't raise taxes and would keep the district’s debt service property tax levy at 94 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
A second phase to improvements approved by voters in 2019, the latest bond issue will fund additions and renovations for classrooms and libraries, construction of a storm shelter at the primary school and a multipurpose facility at the high school. Campus improvements such as upgrading roofs and HVAC systems also are included in the plans, SBJ previously reported.
“Every school is going to have additional classroom spaces added on to accommodate the growth,” district Superintendent Shawn Randles told SBJ last month. “The classrooms are a priority. We don’t want to get behind the eight ball and have to pull in a bunch of mobile classrooms.”
Bond issues at the ballot box yesterday additionally were successful for the Willard and Ozark school districts.
Willard voters gave 71.9% approval for the district to issue $29.5 million in general obligation bonds to build multipurpose safe rooms, secured entryways and classroom additions and other projects and conduct renovations at certain facilities.
Facilities slated to be impacted by the financing include the district's high school, middle school and a handful of elementary schools, according to WillardSchools.net. The district's debt service property tax levy is estimated to remain unchanged at $1.19 per $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property.
The Ozark School District won 64.1% approval for its $19 million no-tax bond issue, according to Christian County's unofficial election results.
"The community has supported the need for continuing safety measures, and we have also taken into consideration increased growth within the district," school board President Tom Bass said on the district's web page set up for the bond issue.
With the fund, the Ozark district plans to construct three storm shelters. Additionally, the district received voter approval for a 10-cent, no-tax increase levy transfer to help offset rising operating costs, according to school officials.
Changes to SPS board
Another high-profile local vote yesterday involved the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education.
Two businesspeople, Kelly Byrne and Steve Makoski, were added to the board. At the ballot, voters were asked to pick two candidates, and Byrne and Makoski received 26.5% and 25.1% of the votes, respectively. The ballot question drew 38,000 votes.
SPS Chief Communications Officer Stephen Hall said the new members are scheduled to be sworn in at the board's April 12 meeting.
Byrne, managing member of development company Say You Can LLC, and Makoski, director of human resources at Rapid Roberts Inc., take on SPS board seats currently held by Charles Taylor and Alina Lehnert. Taylor, a professor of communication and director of Drury University's communication master's program, received 22.1% of the votes yesterday, and Lehnert chose not to run for reelection.
Neither of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce's endorsed candidates took home wins yesterday. The chamber in February backed Taylor and attorney Chad Courtney of Springfield family law firm Courtney & Mills LLC.
Courtney received 4.9% of the votes, and FosterAdopt Connect leader Brandi VanAntwerp secured 21.3%.
In Greene County, four mayoral races also were decided yesterday. They are:
• Jack Cole, uncontested, in Rogersville;
• Jim Cole in Walnut Grove;
• Stephen Short in Fair Grove; and
• Caleb Smith in Ash Grove.
For most, winter offers a break from gardening. But there’s plenty of action at Amanda Belle’s Farm on East Primrose Street, a Springfield Community Gardens project at the edge of the Cox Medical Center South campus.