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Columbia Missourian

Hallsville R-IV school district proposes $4.3 million bond

By Allison Pohle
March 23, 2012 | 6:00 p.m. CDT

HALLSVILLE — Hallsville residents will have the opportunity to vote on April 3 for a $4.3 million general obligation bond to improve district buildings.

According to the bond proposal, proceeds from the bond will be used for a widespread facility improvements necessary for the school district to best serve both the students and the community.

The following items are outlined in the bond proposal as components of the project:

Primary school

Intermediate school

High school

Athletic facility

Administrative offices

Cost to voters

The $4.3 million bond is expected to increase residents' taxes by 32 cents for every $100 of assessed valuation.

In Missouri, residential property is assessed at 19 percent of the appraised value. For example, a house valued at $50,000 would be assessed for taxes at a value of $9,500, according to the bond proposal. Thus, with the 32 cents increase, the annual expense for taxes would be $30.40 for the $50,000 valued house.

The bond proposal includes a chart that breaks down residence values and annual tax expenses on Page 4 of the proposal document.

Benefit to residents

Because Hallsville residents use school buildings often, Superintendent John Robertson said the entire community will gain from the renovations.

“We have meetings, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, youth sports teams using the facilities, so the entire community will benefit tremendously,” he said. “Right now, when we have plays and different performances, it’s in the gym which isn’t conducive to a performance and is really hard to hear.”

The students will also directly benefit from larger classrooms that can accommodate more advanced technology, he said. The new improvements will also be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, unlike some of the district’s existing buildings.

If the bond should be approved, an architect will begin to develop blueprints for construction. The blueprints have to meet county building requirements and will then need to be approved by the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission. Robertson expects the construction to begin within a year of the bond being approved.

“Ideally it would happen as quickly as possible,” he said. “But it depends on how quickly all the dominoes fall into place and all the puzzle pieces come together.”

Timing

Robertson said the district has had a long-range facility improvement plan since 2005. Robertson said it wasn’t until about 2008 that it became evident that a bond would be required to finance the majority of the improvements the district planned for. The district was hesitant to propose the bond in 2008 because of the economic downturn.

Robertson also said 2012 is an appropriate time because it’s an even-numbered year. According to state law, bond issues require a four-sevenths majority approval if the election is held in April, August or November of even-numbered years. Otherwise, a two-thirds majority is required.

In addition, Robertson said low construction rates and low interest rates of bonds also make this an ideal year to propose the renovations.

General obligation bond process

According to Missouri law, school districts must seek voter approval on a general obligation bond issue to legally obtain funding for construction on school facilities. A general obligation bond is one that requires the school district to levy enough taxes to repay both the principal and interest rates associated with the bonds.

If at least four-sevenths of voters approve the proposal, the district will sell the $4.3 million worth of bonds to investors in increments of $5,000. The interest earned from investors on the bonds is tax-exempt, meaning the rate the school district pays will be lower than it would for standard loans.