Citizen Committee Meets - The Missourian: Communities

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Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 11:00 pm | Updated: 9:24 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

 

Citizens for Great Schools, the committee promoting passage of the Washington School District’s bond issue, has begun meeting with local civic and service organizations explaining the April 2 ballot proposal.

Prop R is a proposal to expand and improve facilities in the district.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said the plan includes construction of new facilities and renovation of existing buildings to provide the educational environment that students deserve.

The committee met Wednesday night in the Chamber of Commerce board room. John Freitag, campaign co-chair, discussed his presentations earlier in the day with the Washington CIC and Washington Optimist Club.

“Both meetings went very well, with both groups endorsing Prop R,” he said. “Both groups asked great questions and appeared appreciative of our desire to share the details of Proposition R and how it came to be.”

Next week, committee members will meet with the WINGS Foundation Board and the Chamber board.

“It is important for us to share as much information as possible with as many people as possible,” Freitag said. “This is important to our kids and I hope our community embraces the cause.”

VanLeer said the committee Wednesday night discussed advertising for the campaign, including costs, message, sign labor and delivery.

Mailings to inform larger populations also was talked about, she said, and alumni outreach.

VanLeer encouraged committee members to watch and provide feedback on her Question of the Week and the Friday testimonials that are being posted on the district website — www.washington.k12.mo.us.

Prop R Details

Proposition R: Right Now for Children seeks voter approval of a $49 million bond issue with a 25-cent tax rate increase. The proposal will be split in to two questions on the ballot.

The first question on the ballot will seek approval of a $9 million bond issue with a no-tax rate increase for wireless infrastructure for classrooms districtwide, construction of an early childhood center, classroom additions at Marthasville Elementary and HVAC improvements at Augusta Elementary.

School officials said question one is dedicated to projects that can be completed with absolutely no increase to the current debt service levy.

If approved, students and teachers will be able to utilize laptops, tablets and other 21st century learning tools from anywhere in their school building, VanLeer said.

The new early childhood center will enable the district to better serve all families in the community by combining three programs under one roof — the intown preschools, early childhood special education and Parents as Teachers.

VanLeer said a new HVAC system at Augusta Elementary and classroom additions at Marthasville Elementary will meet facility improvement goals.

The second question seeks approval of a $40 million bond issue with a 25-cent tax rate increase to construct and equip a new middle school on the now vacant property the district owns on east Highway 100, and renovate the current middle school into a K-5 elementary school.

VanLeer said a new 6-8 middle school will create much-needed classroom space at all eight elementary schools, while renovations at the current middle school will allow the district to retire two aging facilities — South Point and Fifth Street schools.

South Point is located in a 100-year floodplain and Fifth Street is in need of significant repair.

VanLeer said the plan also eliminates overcrowding and improves student safety due to the discontinuation of modular trailers, closets and hallways as classrooms, and provides a proper 21st century learning environment.

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