Springfield Public Schools holds community meeting about Proposition S

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- In April, Springfield voters will decide on Proposition S -- an 18-cent increase to the debt-service levy. Those with Springfield Public Schools (SPS) say the increase will pay for a wide range of improvements at many schools.

Stephen Hall, Chief Communications Officer with SPS, says there are many needs within the district. The increase would focus on reconstruction, renovation and safety.

Boyd Elementary, Delaware Elementary and Jarrett Middle School will be rebuilt from the ground up. Hillcrest High School, Sunshine Elementary and Williams Elementary will be renovated.

Andrea Fraser-Schmidt, Boyd Elementary Principal, says their building is not meeting the current needs.

"We have one set of boys bathrooms, one set of girls and they are on opposite sides of the main building," Schmidt said.

The cafeteria, gym and auditorium all share one room only accessible by four stairs. Schmidt says it can be difficult for young students to walk down the stairs carrying a lunch tray full of food.

"Just anyone carrying a food tray down (down steps) is a challenge," Schmidt said.

Tuesday SPS held an informational meeting about Proposition S at Boyd Elementary. Alice-Anne Nix, a local homeowner, came to learn more.

"It is all important to us, it is all part of our community," Nix said.

SPS did the math if you have a house valued at $100,000 they say it would raise residential taxes by $2.85 per month or $34.20 per year. The increase would be phased in over two years and total more than $168 million dollars.

"Our Community Task Force looked at our facilities," Hall said. "They toured facilities and identified great need in our community for improved learning environments ... this money would be used only for these projects."

In addition to reconstruction, renovation and expansion -- upgraded security measures would be added at 31 schools. This was another issue the Community Task Force suggested.

"It took a lot of voices coming forward and that feedback was important," Hall said.

Leah Betts, Greene County Collector of Revenue, says this tax would be on real estate and personal property. She suggests doing the math and figuring out what the increase would cost your family.

For more information about Proposition S, visit: www.sps.org/props