Voters in the Platte County R-3 School District this evening refused to approve 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 promised 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 was to close Rising Star Elementary, which the district contends would be expensive to renovate and is too small to operate efficiently. According to statistics 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 was at least $15 million. Without the means to pay for construction out of existing revenues, district administrators said their only option was to raise the tax levy. The sale of school bonds would have been the usual means to raise funds 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.
Unofficial results show 1,835 “No” votes and 1,486 “Yes” votes.
An earlier story in the KC Education Enterprise mistakenly reported that voters approved the tax levy. _______________________________
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