Rockwood Schools to put $95.5 million bond issue on April ballot - KMOV.com

Rockwood Schools to put $95.5 million bond issue on April ballot

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV
EUREKA, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

In April, voters in the Rockwood School District will have their say on Proposition Thrive, a $95.5 million bond issue.

"The biggest portion of this bond issue answers to somewhat unanticipated growth," said Dr. Eric Knost, Rockwood School District superintendent. "We have 2,300 homes that we are aware of coming into the Rockwood School District. Some of them are being built right now and some of them are very large developments in the Eureka area."

Dr. Knost said he believes the population growth is tied to the Rockwood School District's reputation. It has the highest possible level of accreditation from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is regularly recognized nationally. He believes one reason they are able to maintain that is because of small class sizes.

To accommodate new families and students, the bond issue would help fund repurposing the existing Eureka Elementary School into an Early Childhood center and then building a new and larger Eureka Elementary. Another priority will be investing more in science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum, which includes completing the final phase of STEM lab renovations at high schools.

"We are focusing on experiential learning, hands-on, pieces where they are using critical thinking. That is what is going to create kids that are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow. So we are utilizing the opportunity to create more space that's needed for enrollment and coinciding that with making sure the space we have is conducive to STEM like education," said Dr. Knost.

Prop T would not increase the tax rate, rather it would continue the 68 cent per $100 valuation that taxpayers are already paying.

"We are trying to do this is in a responsible way. We have had balanced budgets for the past number of years. We are very frugal with how we spend," said Dr. Knost.

District officials said they pushed to get Prop T on the April ballot for a number of reasons, primarily because the recent population boom, but also because of current interest rates and construction costs.

If voters say "no" to Prop T, Dr. Knost said they will have to consider redistricting. District officials said that could temporarily balance out the student population but it wouldn't solve the core issue of increased class sizes.

"We are trying to maintain our efforts to drive class sizes down and people usually don't want to move into an area like Eureka and then be put on a bus to be taken to a school outside the Eureka area. And right now, the space in our Eureka schools is very, very limited," said Dr. Knost.

Parents will have an opportunity to learn more about Prop T on Tuesday night at a Town Hall meeting with the superintendent. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Eureka Elementary School.

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