It’s fitting that an educator, Thomas H. Palmer, coined the phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” in his 1840 work “Teacher’s Manual.”
That’s exactly what the Cass Midway School R-I School District decided to do after a bond issue came up 11 votes shy of passage last April.
Voters within the district’s boundary — including Cleveland, Freeman, Lake Annette and West Line — will be asked to vote again April 3 on the same bond issue, which would impose a 15-cent levy increase to pay for a variety of projects and must be approved by a 4/7 majority.
The measure received significant support last spring, 421 “yes” votes against 334 “no” votes, for a 55.76-percent majority, but a 57.14-percent majority is required for the bond issue to pass.
“A group of dedicated people in the district are working hard to find the 11 votes needed for passage compared to last year,” Cass Midway Superintendent Gordon Myers said in an email to The Democrat. “Of course, they hope to gain a comfortable margin this year.”
Tier 1 projects, which the district considers a top priority, include classroom and restroom renovations, paving the parking lot with asphalt, air conditioning the high school and elementary gyms, replacing aging or broken tile, renovations/upgrades for the cafeteria and kitchen, asbestos tile/mastic abatement, and security enhancements for the K-12 school with an enrollment of 430 students located at 5801 E. Missouri 2.
Those projects total an estimated $2 million of the $3.7 million price tag for the bond issue, though the actual cost may vary. The district cannot exceed the bond.
Among the projects identified or Tier 2, which are projected to cost roughly $550,000 and relate to maintenance and safety, are stabilization of the track, roof and window replacement, refinishing the gym floors, improving ventilation in the agriculture shop and replacing HVAC rooftop units.
There also are a series of Tier 3 projects — such as remodeling certain areas, replacing sidewalks, or upgrading playground equipment, stage equipment and bleachers — that would be included if there’s enough money left over after the Tier 1 and 2 projects.
“The projects were determined by the board over a two-year period of study and (after) receiving community input,” Myers said.
The last of five scheduled community meetings about the bond issue was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 29 in the high school commons.
The current levy is 67 cents, so the new bond issue would bump that up to 82 cents. It would cost the owner of a home appraised at $100,000 approximately $28.50 per year in annual property taxes and the owner of a business appraised at $250,000 approximately $123.75 more per year, according to district estimates.
The bonds are scheduled to be paid off in 2038 along with bonds issued in 2012 ($1.755 million) and 2015 ($545,000). Cass Midway voters also passed bond issues in 2000 ($1.280 million) and 2005 ($2.925 million).
More bond issues
Two other Cass County districts — Raymore-Peculiar School District and Pleasant Hill School District — also have bond issues before voters on Tuesday.
Ray-Pec is asking for a 75-cent levy increase, which effectively is a 45-cent increase with the debt-service tax rate set to be slashed by 30 cents.
The bulk of the increase — 40 of the 75 cents — has been earmarked for staff wages and benefits, including training and the pursuit of advanced degrees. Some money also would be used to expand mental health support services and STEAM offerings along with other “student success” initiatives.
A homeowner in the Raymore/Peculiar area, where the average home price is approximately $195,000, would owe an additional $166.72 in property taxes if the bond is approved by a simple majority.
This would be the district’s first tax increase since an $18 million bond issue in 2005.
Pleasant Hill seeks $13 million for buildings upgrades, but the measure would not require a tax increase.
Additional contested races
Belton has three contested races its city council.
Incumbent Ryan Finn will be challenged by Bobby Davidson in Ward 1, incumbent Dean VanWinkle is being challenged by Jason Stephens in Ward 2 and incumbent Bob Newell goes against Stephanie Davidson in Ward 3.
Raymore, Garden City and Pleasant Hill all have contested mayoral races.
The choice in Raymore is between Holly Stark and Kimberly Mallinson, while incumbent Judy Williams and Daniel Cantrell are running for mayor in Garden City and John Vangorkom and incumbent C.J. Hicks are running in Pleasant Hill.
Raymore also has a four-way race between James Petermann, Loren Jones III, Thomas Circo and Adam Embry for a City Council seat representing Ward 2 for a two-year term.
There also are school board elections for Belton, Lee’s Summit, Ray-Pec and Sherwood Cass R-VIII as well as an election for the Cass County Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees.
Voters in Cleveland also will vote on a 5-percent power-and-light license tax.