North Callaway sets ballot language for $6M bond issue

“Shall the Board of Education of the North Callaway County R-I School District of Missouri, without an estimated increase in the current debt service property tax levy, borrow money in the amount of Six Million Dollars ($6,000,000) for the purpose of providing funds to complete site development and to construct, equip, and furnish additional science classrooms and a vocational agriculture facility at the high school to upgrade technology systems throughout the District; to remove asbestos at the high school and Auxvasse elementary school; to construct, equip, and furnish a bus garage/maintenance building; to construct an all-weather track at the high school; to the extent funds are available to acquire land for current and future expansion; and to complete other remodeling and repair improvements to the existing facilities of the District; and issue bonds for the payment thereof? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the School District is estimated to remain unchanged at $1.6622 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.”

The North Callaway School Board unanimously approved ballot language during its regular meeting Thursday night for the $6 million bond issue the district is putting before voters on Nov. 4. The bond issue needs a four-sevenths (57.14 percent) majority to pass.

Board member Scott Starkey asked if the ballot could specifically state that this is a no-tax-increase bond issue, but Larry Hart with LJ Hart — the district’s financial advisor — said the wording is “all the clearer the state auditor will allow us to get.”

According to Hart, the district cannot definitively state it will not raise the tax levy because “we don’t know, and you don’t know, what could happen with your valuation in the future.”

“If your assessed value goes down, you might have to adjust the levy because the state says so,” Hart said. “What you’re telling people is, ‘We don’t plan to increase the levy.’”

In other bond-related business, the school board also voted unanimously to make a $125,000 prepayment on its general obligation bond series 2012.

The district also held a hearing to set the district’s 2014 tax rate Thursday night.

According to Superintendent Bryan Thomsen, the district’s assessed valuation for 2014 is $87.98 million, up from $85.24 million for 2013.

The board approved an operating tax levy of $3.1714 and a debt service tax levy of 0.6622 for a total levy of $3.8336. Thomsen said estimated revenue from the tax is $3.3 million, but said he would plan on a 92 percent collection rate, which would generate $3.03 million, which would be $76,956 higher than last year.

Also during the meeting:

•The board recognized Sandy Terry, who retired from the transportation department.

“I really have enjoyed the whole experience,” Terry said, noting she reconsidered her decision as late as Thursday, but her husband held her back. “Just take care of my kids, that’s all I ask.”

•Thomsen praised Special Programs Director Karrie Millard and the district’s special education staff for doing well on their state evaluation.

“I received notice the other day they blew the test away — they scored 4 (the highest available rating) in all categories except for one,” Thomsen said. “Thank you to that group for your dedication to these kids.”

•Thomsen recognized Williamsburg Elementary teachers Mahaley Sullivan and Diana Mahoney and Auxvasse Elementary teachers Jennifer Allen and Ashley Bartels for being recognized by Discovery Education as STAR Discovery Educators for their use of technology in the classroom.

story created on Thursday 8/21/2014 at 9:09:48 pm by Katherine Cummins

story modified on Thursday 8/21/2014 at 9:44:28 pm by Kevin Smith

Katherine Cummins can be reached at (573) 826-2418 or katherine@fultonsun.com.

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