School district hopes to get bond passed to improve security

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:22 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - A local school district is looking to make their school safer and nicer.

On this terms ballot, the Knox County R-1 School District of Missouri is looking to to borrow $2,250,000 for Proposition K.I.D.S. and school officials said it’s a matter of student safety.

The proposition would allow funds to be borrowed for school improvements. This approval would provide money to build a new secure entrance to the high school and offices, purchase a walk-in cooler and additional freezers and do other upgrades throughout the school.

If Proposition K.I.D.S. passes, Knox County R-1 Schools Superintendent Andy Turgeon said their first priority is creating a new entrance to the school and offices because there is currently no secure proper entrance. When guest visit the school, they are buzzed into the cafeteria where, unless someone is there to meet them, the individual may be lost on where to go next.

“A new structure entrance would up safety measures. Our goal is to attach the entrance to the offices, so visitors are not just walking into the school,” Turgeon said. “Should you need to go into the school, then you’ll be able to get a visitors pass and sign in and do all of those procedures, so that we can control who comes in the building, but at the same time when people come in they know exactly where they need to go.”

Becky Barnhill is the Knox County R-1 Schools Innovative Learning Specialist, but she is also a mother of two attending the school.

“Our school is the heart of our community,” Barnhill said. “And our kids are number one whether it be their safety, or their health, or what makes this place a good environment for them to be able to have a safe playground to be able to play on.”

That’s why Barnhill believes improving it’s safety measures only make sense.

“Safety comes first. So it would be nice to have the secure entrance, so as soon as anybody were to come in, they would be asked where they are going and why they’re here,” Barnhill said. “Our kids are the most important so I feel like that’s something that’s important for our school and important to be able to control who comes in and out of the school.”

Turgeon said if they receive the funds all of projects would be completed because all work was incorporated in the proposed proposition budget.

“If we don’t get the approval, it’s going to come down to what’s most important. Obviously, when you talk about a secured front entrance, that’s really important to us. We want to make sure that this is a safe facility for our staff and our students, so that would be at the top of the priority and then you try and decide what’s next,” Turgeon said. “We’re kind of, ya know, trying to have a ‘plan b’ just in case. What is it that we would have to do and what is it that we could put on the back burner, and what other funding opportunities are out there?”

However, for Barnhill it’s bigger than just improving the school, it’s impacting the community.

“I love that our community supports us and you can feel that everywhere you walk in the halls or even out in the community, that our school is number one,” Barnhill said.

The proposition would not only help provide a more secure entrance, but it would also effect other aspects of the school district as well. Other improvements would include the purchase of a walk-in cooler with additional freezers, a new playground instillation, updated windows and swapping out the current fluorescent lights for LED lights.

“We can do amazing things with our students and that starts with getting everybody together and looking at all of the individual pieces you have around your school and the expertise,” Turgeon said. “We have a great school here and our students are exposed to some amazing programs that you won’t find in other schools. Part of that is we really support our staff and give them the ability to think outside the box and to make it a place where people want to be here.”

If voters approve the proposition, the adjusted debt service of the School District is estimated to remain the same at 20 cents to every $100 of assessed valuation of real and personal property. This would mean no addition funds would be added to taxes rather it would stay at 20 cents, but just extend for more years.

“This is, obviously in my opinion, the most important building in the community. So that 20 cents that they pay in taxes, that’s what’s helped our school look nice and the facilities just to stay in shape,” Turgeon said.

Election day is April 4. Polls in Missouri will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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