UPDATE: As a novice political reporter, I mistook the results from the Clay County Board of Election Commissioners as the complete results. The Platte County R-3 School District educates students from both Clay and Platte counties. I regret any confusion this might create. Please see the story based on the complete election results from the Platte County Board of Elections.
Voters in the Platte County R-3 School District this evening approved an increased tax levy to pay for construction to make room for an increasing number of students.
In exchange for approving an extra 60-cent tax levy, district administrators promise to expand Pathfinder Elementary, improve the high school, enhance district technology and security as well as build a new elementary school to relieve overcrowding. Another part of the plan is to close Rising Star Elementary, which the district contends would be expensive to renovate and is too small to operate efficiently. According tostatistics available from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, enrollment in the Platte County R-3 School District has grown by more than 775 students in less than five years.
Projected cost of building the new school is at least $15 million. Without the means to pay for construction out of existing revenues, the district’s only option is to raise the tax levy. Another option might be selling school bonds, which is the usual means of paying for capital improvements, but the state of Missouri limits the amount of debt a district can take on. According to information available from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s Electronic Municipal Access site, Platte County R-3 cannot legally take on enough debt to pay for expanding and building new schools.
More than 84 percent of voters cast a “Yes” ballot for the increased tax levy.
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