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Seneca School District seeks approval of $4.5 million bond issue - KOAM TV 7

Seneca School District seeks approval of $4.5 million bond issue

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The Seneca School District is seeking approval for a $4.5 million bond issue on the April 7 ballot.

Officials say the bond would fund 12 different projects total across the district.

Parent Matthew Frazier has three young children who attend Seneca Schools.

They moved to town after their Joplin home was damaged by the 2011 tornado.

Part of the proposed bond issue would go towards construction of a 7,000 square foot safe room at the high school.

Currently, the only safe room is at the intermediate school.

"I don't think everybody could fit in it, so we definitely do need a bigger one or more of them," Frazier said.

Superintendent Jim Cummins says the bond will provide just that, without increasing taxes.

Right now, the debt service levy is 85 cents to pay off current debt.

If the new bond passes, that 85 cents will remain the same, but officials would have more money for additional projects.

"What happens is you pay off an existing debt for a few years, your assessed valuation grows, and then there becomes a point in time when you can issue more debt for the same amount of debt service levy," Cummins said.

Officials say the bond issue would also cover security improvements to the early childhood center, a long with several other renovations throughout the district.

"We would add a tornado shelter at the early childhood center," Cummins said. "We would hit several upgrade projects, junior high restrooms, elementary kitchen, visitor bleachers at the high school, some HVAC needs."

And the largest portion of the bond, $2 million, would go towards paying off a lease purchase agreement, which officials estimate will free up $350,000 of the district's operating budget, benefiting other programs.

"If they're not getting something immediately from the bond issue, it's likely their program will benefit from the fact that we have more funds to operate on," Cummins said.

The Seneca School District is holding a public meeting to answer questions on the bond proposal at the high school on Tuesday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m. 
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