As the 11,000 students in the Fox School District arrived for their first day of school on Wednesday morning, they got their first introduction to more than $20M worth of facility upgrades.
The improvements happened because the voters in Arnold, Mo., passed a no tax increase bond issue a year ago. At the time, it was worth $18.5M. According to Superintendent Dianne Critchlow, the district received a “great rate” when they sold the bonds last fall, the district had $22.M to work with.
Superintendent Critchlow said the no-tax increase was a no-brainer.
“[This type of bond] allows the district to borrow money kind of like a home loan to do capital projects that a normal school budget could not do,” Critchlow said. “It doesn’t increase the taxes; it allows us to sell bonds.”
New lighting, new restrooms and new technology can be found in nearly every one of the district’s 19 buildings. Both high schools also received new multipurpose rooms while the football stadium and baseball field also received upgrades.
However, Critchlow said the most important thing the money went to was improving overall safety of the kids who attend Fox schools.
“We wanted to make sure we are doing everything we could to keep our kids safe,” Critchlow said. “We installed, with the passage of the bond issue, buzzer systems in every school so every door is locked in every school.”
Twenty new buses were also added to the Fox fleet.
Although the district has three years to make all the improvements, Critchlow said “99.9 percent” of them have been completed. She said the reason the district wanted to get the construction and changes done quickly is because the students at Fox “deserve it.”