Canton School Board may seek $2.5 million bond issue for improvements

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 12, 2018 10:35 am

CANTON, Mo. -- The Canton R-5 School Board is exploring the possibility of putting a $2.5 million bond issue for capital improvements on the April 2019 election ballot.

Superintendent Jesse Uhlmeyer said the board will decide later this year whether to proceed with the bond issue. However, he feels some long-delayed repairs are becoming urgent.

"We have enough of a need for improvements that we need to take care of them now," he said. "It's something that we can't keep delaying and deferring."

If approved by voters, the proposed bond issue would be used mainly to finance a series of repairs to the roofs and masonry on the district's K-12 school complex, parts of which were built in the early 1900s.

"It's mainly our building envelope" that needs improvement, Uhlmeyer said.

In addition, the board is looking into upgrading several old boilers and doing some energy upgrades that would help lower the district's operating costs. Uhlmeyer said the district also is looking to make some general safety and security improvements along with some technology upgrades, including the possibility of adopting a "one-to-one" initiative that would put a computing device in the hands of each student.

Uhlmeyer said passage of the bond issue would not require a tax increase. He said some existing bonds are about to be paid off, so the new bond issue would simply replace the current debt and extend it out over a longer period while keeping the district's debt service tax levy at a steady 55 cents.

Uhlmeyer said the board recently issued some requests for proposals for the capital improvement projects. Two firms -- GRP Mechanical Contractors and Control Technology and Solutions -- were invited to develop detailed proposals that will help determine how the district will proceed.

Uhlmeyer said the district has a larger bonding capacity than the $2.5 million figure being targeted, but the board is "trying to keep the project to the size that we need so that we're not putting an extra burden on the taxpayers."

In other action this week, the board:

º Approved the annual audit report.

º Readopted the "assurance of religious expression policy" and made some revisions to the bereavement leave policy.

º Recognized Harry Smith for completing his 15th year of perfect bus fleet compliance during the annual Missouri State Highway Patrol bus inspections.

º Approved the high school band and choir dates for 2018-19.

º Approved an overnight trip to a national convention for members of the Future Farmers of America.