Posted Date: 01/13/2020
Credit: Standard Democrat
A new website has launched to help explain the need and costs of a Sikeston R-6 bond issue that will be on the ballot in April.
The site, www.schools4sikeston.com, explains the $21-million bond issue by breaking down what will be done as part of the bond issue and what the costs will be.
“Our goal as a committee is to provide Sikeston voters with accurate information about the bond issue,” said Cooper McKelvey, co-chair of the bond committee. “We want them to know what it includes and what it will mean for them as individuals. The website is one of many avenues we will utilize to educate voters on this need.”
McKelvey said the website has been designed to be a public source of easily-accessible and detailed information about Phase 2 of the Master Facilities Plan and the R-6 bond request. “Transparency is important to the district and the committee,” he added. “We want to provide voters with the costs, impact and timelines on what will be on the ballot on April 7, 2020.”
Under the proposed plan, the current Lee Hunter Elementary would be razed for $500,000 and a new school would be rebuilt on the same site for a cost of $13.4 million. Also a new C Building at the Sikeston High School would be built for a cost of $6.6 million with a cost of $500,000 to raze the current Matthews Elementary school in 2021 after it would house Lee Hunter students for the 2020-2021 school year.
“The website lays out the need for a new Lee Hunter Elementary and C Building on the Senior High campus,” said Katie Merideth, co-chair of the bond committee. “Lee Hunter Elementary was built in 1954, and C Building was built in 1960. Voters can see the costs of each building and the floor plans and improvements each building offers.”
Also a safe space would be built at the Kindergarten Center of which Sikeston R-6 would contribute 25 percent of the cost ($400,000) while a potential SEMA/FEMA grant would cover 75 percent of the cost. This is not part of the $21-million bond.
Also on the website is a link to easily figure how much additional personal and property tax a Sikeston resident would have to pay if the bond issue is approved.
“Through the website, we have tried to create a simple way for voters to see the impact on the total school levy in 2020,” Merideth said. “A calculator is included on the home page of the website for viewers to do a simple multiplication of their current School R-6 tax line on their tax assessment to find the 2020 cost going forward.”
“Our current county tax assessments are out and a line exists with a School R-6 amount of total school levy,” McKelvey said. “It is easy to calculate the proposed impact on the 2020 assessment by multiplying the current amount from that line by 1.11. A calculator is featured on the website.”
The website is just one of the many ways the bond committee is trying to connect with the community before the election in April.
“Over the next few months our committee, along with R-6 School Board members, will be out in Sikeston to speak to the need to provide our students with safe, sound and advanced learning facilities,” Merideth said. “We need our friends and neighbors to support this effort to replace facilities that are more than 50 years old. It is important not only for our children and their future, but also for the future of Sikeston.”
McKelvey said there are a lot of great things happening in the Sikeston community and that the improvements of the school facilities bring many tangible and intangible benefits to Sikeston.
“Wing Elementary was just the start of renewing the foundation of our community, which is our schools,” McKelvey said. “My hope is that everyone will give this request the proper time and consideration it is due. If I or anyone on this committee can answer questions, please feel free to contact us.”
Merideth said any questions or comments can be sent directly to the bond committee through the website under the “Contact Us” section. “We look forward to keeping the dialogue open so that all citizens will be well-informed and can carefully consider this bond request,” she said.