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Licking R-VIII asks for community support of Prop. B


Photo by Shari Harris
Morning drop-off can be difficult at times. The District anticipates the proposed elementary expansion would allow for a smoother drop-off on the Maple Street side, separate from bus traffic.

By Shari Harris,
Co-Publisher

Licking R-VIII School District is asking voters for an 85-cent increase to the capital projects levy to fund an elementary expansion and repair existing facilities. Proposition B will be on the ballot on Nov. 5, and if successful, the levy increase would fund construction and repairs in the District in phases, and sunset after 20 years.
The failure of the 99-cent bond issue on the April ballot resulted in the District’s revision of their strategy. The bond would have allowed the District to pay off existing debt on the FEMA building and the HVAC, in addition to beginning construction on the elementary expansion. The reduction to an 85-cent capital projects levy will not allow the debt to be retired, but would make new construction and repair projects possible.
Repairs to aging roofs and flooring, critical preventative maintenance, and replacement of the 25-year-old trailers are no longer projects the District feels it can delay. If the levy fails, the District would be required to decrease spending on staff, supplies, transportation, and extra-curricular programming in order to complete these repairs and maintenance.
If the levy succeeds, construction of the elementary expansion, the elementary cafeteria addition, removal of the classroom trailers, and window and roof replacement and repair at both ends of campus would be the first phase. Projects would be staggered to adjust to the generation of funds.
The proposed elementary expansion would eliminate the need for the trailers, and they could be sold. It would enclose the elementary campus, and students would no longer need to walk outside in inclement weather to get to the main building. This would also increase security on the campus. The improved safety of brick and mortar over trailers in storms would be another benefit. The 10 a.m. lunch shift for preschool and kindergarten classes would be moved to a later time, as well. The expansion would also allow for a smoother parent drop-off and pick-up on the Maple Street side of the building, separate from bus traffic.
The District plans to share as much information with the public as possible. Beginning in next week’s edition, inserts will be placed in The Licking News to share information about the proposed improvements, about the impact to the taxpayers’ tax load, and more. The administration and the school board urge you to read these inserts and, if you have questions, contact them for clarification.
Previous meetings about the proposed changes have resulted in questions about properties the District owns around the fringe of campus. The “Bridge” property on the southeast corner of campus has recently been undergoing renovation. The Missouri Ozark Health Clinic has partnered with the District, and received a grant making the renovations possible. A clinic is slated to open there on Oct. 3. Medical care will be available to students and staff, and eventual expansion to community care is planned. This is the same group that currently sends the Dental Mobile Clinic to the District. Renovations to the site were necessary to make it usable, and the partnership allows the school to have the necessary improvements made to their property, in exchange for allowing the clinic to occupy the building rent-free while providing a service to the school.

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