In addition to routine agenda items, such as paying the bills and being reminded that spring break is next week, board members will hear a bond issue update.
On Tuesday, April 3, voters will decide whether to approve Proposition A, the sale of $9.5 million in school bonds. Bonds are a form of public debt, similar to mortgages for home owners. According to the district’s informational flyer, the purpose of the bonds would be to fulfill the strategic plan adopted by the Board of Education in 1999. As part of that plan, board members promised to “[c]ontinue construction of the comprehensive high school on the current Freshman Center campus.”
Expanding enrollment would be one reason to expand a high school. Currently the freshman class has about 25 or 35 more students than each of the upper classes, and the district’s bond flyer shows that some elementary school grade levels have anywhere from 95 to 35 more students than the upper classes in the high school. According to information available from Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, enrollment in the high school and the freshman center has declined slightly over the past four years, while district-wide enrollment has grown by 118 students.
Three years ago, when the district refinanced some debt — saving money by taking advantage of lower interest rates — Belton did not have much debt capacity left. The State of Missouri limits the amount of debt school districts can take on. In 2009, according to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s Electronic Municipal Market Access database, Belton’s Board of Education had only $856,564 in debt capacity remaining.
The board meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at the Walnut Building; 110 W. Walnut; Belton, MO 64012.
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