money grad

With several prospective goals identified at two previous meetings, the third gathering of the Scotland County R-I School District’s Community Vision team focused on the financial side of bringing some of the dreams to fruition.

The June 17th meeting held at the SCR-I high school featured presentations by architects ACI Boland as well as financing organization LJ Hart & Company.

The more than 40 community volunteers reviewed preliminary designs for a proposed expansion between the high school and elementary school that could house the district’s new pre-school program and replace the deteriorating band, special education and weight room metal buildings adjacent to the high school.

Preliminary price tags for the addition, which would include three early childhood education rooms, a Parent’s as Teacher room, two therapy rooms, a speech therapy room, a new elementary school library and expanded high school library, board room band room, as well as relocating the staff offices and the playground, was $3,847,200.

Other targeted projects were estimated $25,000 roof repairs, $11,500 gutter and downspout repairs, $52,000 HVAC controls for elementary classrooms, $125,000 security upgrades campus wide including new lockdown doors and security cameras, a new $66,000 concrete/brick concession stand and restrooms, and $11,500 replacement of high school cafeteria entrance/vestibule. That brings the total project cost to $4,154,016.

ACI Boland also estimated the cost of constructing a new 90×120 gymnasium with 180 linear feet of telescoping bleachers that would provide 15 tiers of seating at a cost of $1.2 million. Replacement and upgrade of elementary school building exterior windows was priced at $474,744. The later was not recommended by the engineers, as the energy cost savings would not be sufficient enough to justify the expenditure. The new gym was not targeted as a priority by the entire vision team, and thus was not included as a target of the proposal being considered for public support.

With the $4.154 million price estimate, LJ Hart representatives recommended the district consider pursuing a $5 million bond issue in a coming election.

A proposed 20-year bond issue at an estimated 3.54% interest rate would cost the district roughly $365,000 a year with a total principal and interest repayment of $6,952,687. Such a proposal would require a 4/7 of 57.143% majority vote for approval.

A $5 million bond would represent a 60-cent levy increase from the current $3.3356 tax levy rate for the SCR-I district.

LJ Hart compared the current rate with surrounding districts, showing SCR-I near the bottom for lowest rates when compared to Clark County R-I ($3.50), Putnam County ($3.7177), North Shelby ($3.7352), Knox County ($3.8045), Canton ($3.8457), Schuyler County ($4.20) and Kirksville ($4.240).

If approved, a 60-cent levy increase would raise SCR-I tax rates to $3.9356, ranking in near the top of the Tri-Rivers Conference, below only Schuyler County.

The LJ Hart representatives estimated that a 60-cent levy increase would increase property taxes on a $100,000 home by $114 annually.

SCR-I district representatives will now have to decide whether to push forward with the proposal and whether or not to place it on the  November 2014 ballot for consideration of the voters.