In addition to routine agenda items, such as overseeing personnel changes and being reminded that graduation day is May 19, board members will hear another bond issue update. The same item was on the agenda of the first meeting this month.
According to district spokesperson Kristin Eslick, if the bond issues doesn’t pass, district administrators “would then make some minor tweaks and come back with a similar plan.”
Next week — 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.
According to Eslick, the district has just enough debt capacity to take on the high school construction project. However, Missouri state statute limits the amount of debt districts can accrue, and if voters approve Proposition A, Belton School District will not be able to take on any more debt until some is paid off.
The board meeting, which was open to the public, took place at the Walnut Building; 110 W. Walnut; Belton, MO 64012.
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