Letter to the Editor

Your view: Support bond issue

Monday, March 20, 2006

On April 4th, the East Prairie R-2 School District will be asking voters for approval to borrow money in the amount of $2,750,000, of zero interest Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, for the purpose of providing funds to complete roof repairs and replacement, electrical wiring upgrades, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems upgrades, installation of new energy control system, lighting and ceiling improvements.

Voters will be asked to vote yes for Proposition 2. The proposition calls for no new taxes for the taxpayers. The proposition would only extend the current tax rates. The school district's facilities are in need of emergency repair. The roofing systems on the high school are failing and need complete replacement. If not replaced, the buildings structural integrity will be most certainly threatened. Proposition 2 calls for replacing all of the roof systems at the high school with the exception of the high school cafeteria. Extensive leaking from the roof is causing potential health risks from the moisture.

The roof also needs replaced at the Junior High facility. In addition to roof replacement, the district will upgrade and install several new air conditioning and heating units (including the high school gymnasium) with more energy efficient models. Many of the units have exceeded their functional life. Voting yes for Proposition 2 would allow the district to replace HVAC that is beyond life expectancy, guarantee energy savings, increase comfort and provide a better, healthier learning environment.

Also proposed in the project is the replacement of windows and doors at the high school and Doyle Elementary. The district intends to replace existing single pane, energy inefficient windows with new dual glazed energy efficient windows in the Industrial Arts building, Ag Shop, Ag Shop classroom, Central Office, Gym Lobby, and various locations at Doyle Elementary. Energy efficient exterior doors will be installed at the high school.

Voting yes to Proposition 2 will also allow the district to upgrade lighting and repair ceilings that have been damaged by the leaking roof systems. The upgrade to the lighting will replace existing noisy, less efficient metal halide lighting with new T-8 fluorescent lamps in the cafeteria, gymnasium, and weight room. Ceiling upgrades will take place throughout the high school plant to address the possible health risk from moisture and mold potential.

Funding for Proposition 2 will be in the form of Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (Zero Interest). The school district has qualified for $2,750,000 in zero interest bonds. Qualification was based on the district's free and reduced count and the school district being located in an Empowerment Zone. The total savings for the interest free bonds is approximately $1,379,025.

What does this mean to the taxpayer of the East Prairie School District? It means that the taxes for our schools will remain unchanged. The bond issue would only extend the current voter approved taxes for an additional nine years.

The East Prairie community has always been very supportive of the school system and the school district would ask the community to support the efforts to maintain quality educational facilities for the future by voting Yes to Proposition 2. If any patron of the community has any questions concerning the bond issue, please feel free to contact me.

Scott Downing

Superintendent of Schools

East Prairie R-2 School District