Jackson voters approve bond issue

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Less-expensive bond issue for high school renovation gets 54 percent of the vote.

"Whoohoo!"

That's the only word that seemed to truly describe the way Jackson School District officials felt Tuesday night as they watched the election results for their high school bond issue roll in.

The mood at the Cape Girardeau County Administrative Building, where about a dozen district administrators and school board members gathered, couldn't have been different from a similar night four months ago, when a different bond issue was put before voters in the April election.

By the time results from the first few precincts were posted, superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson felt confident about the outcome.

"We knew about how much support we had. It just really depended on who showed up to vote," Anderson said.

In the end, 54.4 percent of the 5,441 voters said yes to the $19.8-million bond issue to revamp the aging high school campus. The issue passed 2,965 to 2,476. A 50-percent voter approval was needed for the issue to pass.

This marked the district's third attempt at passing a bond issue. More expensive funding plans failed in November and April, when super majorities were required for passage.

"I'm glad we've got it behind us," said board member Dr. T. Wayne Lewis. "It lets us move on with the kids now."

Ten of the 17 precincts approved the issue, six of which had more than 60 percent of voters in favor of it.

The next phase in the project is fine-tuning the amended plans for the high school. Anderson said that is likely to take about a year, then bids will go out for the work.

The new plan has about 34,000 fewer square feet than the original and costs about $8 million less.

The campus, which is currently made up of several different buildings, will be housed under one roof. There will be a new library, commons/cafeteria area, events center and a new classroom building. Other parts of the existing campus will be renovated.

The project will be paid for through the sale of leasehold revenue bonds and will mean a 49-cent increase to the district's current tax levy of $3.31 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

For the owner of a $100,000 home, that will mean an annual property tax increase of about $93.

Anderson said Tuesday's approval is a victory for the community but especially the district's staff and volunteers who worked on the election campaign.

"It's got to be uplifting for them," he said. "We have a great community and a great staff, and this just adds a new dimension to that."

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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