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Neosho School District is again pushing for $24 million bond iss - KOAM TV 7

Neosho School District is again pushing for $24 million bond issue

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The Neosho School District is once again pushing for a $24 million bond issue to fund construction of a new junior high.

The proposal failed twice last year.

Many of the teachers and community members who pushed to get the issue on the upcoming April ballot held a public meeting on the topic this evening at Neosho Middle School.

District officials say over-crowding is the main driver behind the proposed bond issue.

"The goal of this would be to have a facility where we could take the 8th grade out of the high school and the 7th grade out of the middle school, be able to get rid of the mobile units at those facilities and still have a little room to grow," said Dan Decker, superintendent.

The proposed junior high for 7th and 8th graders would be constructed adjacent to Carver Elementary. 

District officials say current renderings plan for a two-story facility with 32 classrooms.

"Of course you'll have your common spaces, which would be your music room, your art room, commons or cafeteria space, gym space, and library," Decker said.

Supporters say the added space is not an extravagance, but rather a necessity.

"The teachers went to the school board and said we need to do this now," said Jeff Werneke, co-chair of Neosho's Future.  "It's time."

Opponents, however, are most concerned about the proposed source of funding, which aims to increase taxes by 24 cents per 100 dollars of assessed valuation.

"I understand about classroom size and having too many kids for the teacher, but they need to live within their means and not expect to have raised taxes," said Gene Franklin, Neosho resident.

"Most senior citizens are paying all they can afford," said Doug Skaggs, Neosho resident.

Location is also a concern.

"If you have all the schools in one location and a tornado comes through, then you're going to have to build three schools," Franklin said.

Supporters argue the current plan works best to meet a time sensitive need.

"Every year we wait is another year that we're going to have to make up in construction costs to do the same exact project," Werneke said.

The bond issue needs 57 percent approval to pass.

The proposal failed previously, with 52 percent approval last April, and 49 percent in August.
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