Proposition Safe Schools -
a no tax rate increase bond issue.
PROPOSITION SAFE SCHOOLS
Shall the Board of Education of the Dunklin R-V School District of Jefferson County, Missouri borrow money and issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of $13,500,000 to acquire, construct, improve, renovate, furnish, and equip new and existing school facilities, including the Taylor Early Childhood Center, Pevely Elementary, Senn-Thomas Middle School and Herculaneum High School buildings? Projects may include but are not limited to construction of secured entryways and installation of security upgrades at the elementary school and middle school and construction of a high school gym with a storm shelter. If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is estimated to remain unchanged at the current levy of $0.9500 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation of real and personal property.
August 2023 Update: The first of three bid packages has been released. It includes the safe and secure entrances to Pevely Elementary and Senn-Thomas Middle School, as well as theater upgrades. Those improvements will be completed by the start of school in August of 2024. All three packages will be put out to bid this calendar year (2023). HTK Architects held a meet and greet for contractors last month in hopes of generating more interest in the projects and getting good competitive bids. There have been changes made to the district warehouse to save money. It will still be built next to the bus garage, but it will be a smaller building. There will be offices for the technology and maintenance departments, freeing up classroom space. It will include a workshop and some storage. The current maintenance building behind the theater will become a warehouse, including freezers for food deliveries. The only visible signs of progress at this point is the demolition of two homes on Broadway. The district has owned the homes for over four years and the land will become a parking area for the new gym.
July 2023 Update: We are about a year away from seeing improvements across the district. The bonds have been sold, the surveyors have done their work, and soil samples have been taken at various locations. The architects from HTK have met with staff and given the board of education several updates. HTK is getting detailed feedback from the end users and the board is making financial decisions on larger options. For example, they approved a canopy over the entrance to Senn-Thomas Middle School. That option was more expensive, but it will provide shelter from the weather, additional lighting, and it's aesthetically more pleasing. That option is shown in the flyer below. On July 27, 2023, HTK is organizing a contractor meet and greet. Local contractors and subcontractors will get an idea of the bid packages and can exchange information. We hope the event will help us get several competitive bids this fall. We expect the new entrances to Senn-Thomas Middle School and Pevely Elementary School will be completed by the start of school in August of 2024. The new gym is the largest, most complex project and will take more than a year to complete. There are several other pieces, including theater improvements and a small warehouse next to the bus garage. They will be included in the mix when the bids go out, but we don't know the timelines. Installing a turf football field will require underground work for drainage and other issues. We are still getting input on the best way to create a good foundation before it goes out to bid.
We are proud and grateful to report that 76.1% of voters supported Proposition Safe Schools on April 4, 2023.
The Facilities Master Plan highlights areas that need improvement. We've been making those upgrades with the use of grants, our maintenance department, and the passage of Prop S. However, there are still some items that need to be addressed.
At both Pevely Elementary School and Senn-Thomas Middle School, when you are buzzed inside, you have direct access to the entire building. We would like to move the administrative offices to the front of those buildings. The new entrances will add a layer of security and add additional classroom space.
Robinson Gymnasium was build in 1964. Over the years, we have added activities and our participation rate continues to climb. Having two gyms would allow all of our teams to practice after school, instead of returning at five in the evening for basketball practice.
Another area we can add activity space is the football field. We ask people to "stay off the grass" during the summer and fall to maintain the field. Students in Marching Band start their day on the dew-covered practice field in front of the high school. A turf field would allow them to practice where they perform, just like the students participating in cheer, dance, and football.
The theater is a great space, the the lighting and sound systems are 20 years old. The light isn't balanced, which creates hot spots and dark shadows. The microphones cut in and out during performances.