Cape Girardeau school district superintendent explains bond issue

By Laura Wibbenmeyer - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Next Tuesday, Cape Girardeau residents will vote on a $40 million school bond issue designed to renovate, upgrade and provide space for various student programs.

It's a big dollar amount and district leaders say some folks are still left with questions.

Dr. Jim Welker, superintendent of Cape Schools, says there is one thing he wants to make sure everyone knows.

"It's not a tax rate increase, what is does is extend that tax rate that we have now out to 2030," Welker said.

Welker says a yes vote would simply allow the district to extend its debt from 2020 to 2030.

"It would kinda be like buying a house, you take out debt to buy a house and you have to pay it off over 30 years or whatever," Welker said.

Why is the money really needed?  Welker says there are several building projects on tap, including a new building to replace Franklin Elementary.

"As we looked at the cost we could build a brand new building that would last the next 75 or 100 years actually for less than what we could renovate the existing building," said Welker.

Welker also says some of the plans proposed in the bond issue are not new, but will complete work already started at Cape Central High School.

"There was a place for the auditorium when the high school was originally designed but it was cut out," he said.

Welker says an auditorium and events stadium are needed.  He says a place for performing arts, orchestra band, and theatrical performances needs to be a component of the high school.

He also says the high school needs a place where they can have their own football games.

Welker points out other renovations, although smaller, are just as important.

"We desperately need a new roof on Clippard Elementary. We keep patching and patching and its just beyond its life," Welker said.

If Proposition 1 passes construction on some of the projects would begin this summer and are projected to be completed by Fall of 2010.

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