$8.5 Million Tax Increase for Monroe City R-1 School District to be on April Ballot
By Abbey Gerveler
The Monroe City R-1 School District will have an $8.5 million tax increase proposal for the April ballot, which would include renovations for the elementary school, the relocation and construction of a new agriculture building, and covered hallways connecting all three schools within the district.
The proposal, also known as Proposition 2, is part of an ongoing process to make upgrades to the district. In 2014, the district made a proposal for a no-tax bond issue, which included security improvements, technology upgrades, and a new all-weather track and football field. In January, the Monroe City R-1 board of education duly passed a resolution to approve the special bond issue to be on the ballot. The proposal for April 2, 2019 calls for a 43-cent increase for the district’s debt service which will take effect in the first five-year phase.
In total, $13.5-14 million worth of potential fixes and improvements were determined back in the summer of 2018 during an energy audit. Should the 2019 proposal pass, the first five-year phase will be followed by a second, no-tax-increase phase for $5 million to complete elementary school renovations and other projects.
“The problem we are in is that if I walk around within our buildings, the high school, which was built in 1963, is the newest of our buildings,” said Monroe City R-1 Superintendent Tracy Bottoms. “They’ve had some upgrades, but if you look at the facilities, they are very antiquated.” The oldest part of Monroe City’s elementary school was built in 1936.
The agriculture building was also rebuilt in 1947, and Bottoms says several factors determined the need for a new location and construction of the facility. “If we start looking at where we want to be safety and security wise, it’s right where our current Ag building is sitting,” said Bottoms. Adding square footage around the building to potentially place a new administrative office for all the district administrators, secretarial staff, and a nurse would defeat the district’s goal of connectivity and was determined as “a wasted expense,” said Bottoms.
Bottoms: “As we went in and kind of started to evaluate our ag facility and talking to our ag people, what we realized is that the ag building is too small; it’s not meeting the needs of our Ag, which, in this community, is huge. So, we said ‘let’s see what it’s going to cost us to build the Ag, move the Ag,’ and now we have one location so that we can connect everyone together. Having the administrative offices together will allow for better security and give us an additional layer of security that we don’t currently have.”
The proposal will also allow the district to add in a second cafeteria for pre-k-8 students. Because the current cafeteria for the students is too small, grades 5-8 walk outside each day to eat their breakfast and lunch in a nearby building. The proposed building would have the capacity to house 300 students at one time.
“My opinion is skewed drastically,” said Bottoms regarding the new proposal. “I think people expect me to say you should vote for this no matter if it’s what is best for the kids. I do believe that, however, one of the things that I would say is when you look at our district, if we continue to want our district to be a place that people want, we have to continue to upgrade our facilities.”
Monroe City’s enrollment has been on the rise in recent years. Since 2006, the district has added about 100 students to the system. “We need to compete with Palmyra, South Shelby, and Ralls County, who built new elementary schools. If we don’t do that, then people choose to go to other places,” said Bottoms. “Our kids deserve to have newer facilities.”
For more tax information on Proposition 2, go to https://monroe.k12.mo.us and click the Prop 2 Tax Information link on the left side to view cost tables. Below are also dates and times listed for the community and local organization meetings for the bond project.
• Swinkey Knights of Columbus- March 7, 2019 8 P.M.
• Monroe City Open House- March 8 5-7 P.M.
• Monroe City H.P.E.O. March 9, 2019 2 P.M. (1 st Baptist Church)
• Monroe City Community Meeting- March 12, 2019 6:30 P.M. (MCR-I
• Ministerial Alliance-March 14 9.A.M. (Apron Café)
• Daughters of Isabella- March 14- 6 P.M.
• Monroe City Fire Protection Meeting- March 18, 6:30 P.M.
• Monroe City Community Meeting- March 19, 2019 6:30 P.M. (MCR-I
• Monroe City Nutrition Center- March 21, 2019 12:00 P.M.
• Monroe City Garden Club- March 21, 2019 1:30 P.M.
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