Shelby County School District looks to pass multi-million dollar bond issue
SHELBY COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) -
There's asbestos in the ceiling and floors, and the classroom walls are held up by decades-old braces. That's just the start of a long list of problems at Shelbina Elementary.
School officials say mounting repair costs and declining enrollment leave the district with only one option: consolidation.The district plans to put an $8.4 million bond issue on the April ballot.
Schools officials want to combine Shelbina and Clarence elementary schools and build a new central campus near the high school and middle school.
The gym at Shelbina Elementary School doubles as a cafeteria and a morning meeting space.
The kitchen is a tight squeeze for workers , and the school says it might soon have to pay to rip up the entire floor to fix drainage issues.
That's just the start.
"The structure of the building, we've had to take measure to make sure our students are safe and there are no walls falling," Principal Katie Stueve said.
Down the hall, rooms are held up by structure braces. Stueve says the building isn't equipped for technology, so cords and plugs are a huge concern. District officials say it's the same thing at Clarence Elementary across town, but school officials hope the bond could be the fix.
"Part of the plan is to combine elementaries into one elementary here, which will help with some of the resources," Superintendent Tim Maddex said. "We're having dual resources having it both for Shelbina and Clarence."
Maddex says the plan will save money on repair costs and declining enrollment in the long-run, but parents say the move is bittersweet.
"I'm sad it will be closing," Mendy Schaefer said. "This is where I went to elementary school. You know, both my girls started kindergarten here."
Stueve says the school has invited the community inside to see the issues firsthand. Parents say they think the move will mean better resources and more classmates for their kids.
"I've heard some opposition, but everyone I really talked to, we're in the same boat," Schaefer said. "We're sad to see it go, but we all want to do what's best for our kids and if that's letting go of some silly love for this school, then that's what we'll do."
Parents who opposed the bond issue cited transportation changes as a main concern, as many kids walk to school.
District officials say they have made bus arrangements for students in the community, and the start times for school will remain the same.
Also, the curriculum in both Shelbina and Clarence are similar, so students will have an easier transition.
Officials say because there is still a staff need throughout the district, they don't expect any jobs to be lost.
If the bond issue is approved, the district hopes to the elementary school will be fully combined by the 2016-2017 school year.