Voters Approve $12 Million Bond to Benefit Cape Girardeau Schools
This April, voters passed Proposition Y, a $12 million school bond in Cape Girardeau which will allow the Board of Education of the Cape Girardeau School District No. 63 to borrow the funds needed to expand, renovate and better equip existing schools.
A total of 61.8 percent of voters approved Proposition Y, the latest positive step in a long-term educational transformation for the school district.
While district-wide capital projects will now get the green light – such as new HVAC systems on the schools as well as roof and parking lot repairs, the bulk of the funding will be used for specific projects at Alma Schrader Elementary and Jefferson Elementary Schools.
The school board is proposing an initial $2 million to be used for upgrades at each school.
Alma Schrader, which was built in 1959, is badly in need of renovations and technology upgrades to be more conducive to the learning style of the modern student.
Jefferson, which was built in 1957, will also have renovations, especially to its gymnasium, which has fallen into disrepair. Jefferson will also make educational upgrades to bolster their STREAM learning initiative.
An additional $1.5 million will be earmarked to create a consolidated pre-school center on Jefferson’s campus for students aged four and five. Currently, there are individual pre-school programs at four of the five elementary schools in the district. This would allow all pre-school students to be in one place.
Another $4 million would be used to replace the aquatic facility at Cape Central Middle School known as the “Bubble.” The building has been in use since 1977 but inspections into the building’s structure have brought its integrity and safety into question.
The Bubble cannot handle larger crowds because the air quality is poor, and the building frequently loses water, meaning that the structure may not be as safe as it needs to be.
Cape Girardeau City Council has approved an expenditure of $6 million toward a new aquatic center and an anonymous donor added an additional $1.5 million.
This combined total of $11.5 million will allow for a state-of-the-art aquatics center to be built. The plan is to also put this on Jefferson’s campus.
This marks the third bond in the past decade to pass in Cape Girardeau that did not require a tax increase and still brought $72 million in funds into the district.
A master facility plan was put into development in 2010. Securing this $12 million bond is the third phase of that plan.
The community is making a long-term investment in this district in order to revitalize its neighborhoods.
In 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cape Girardeau had the most concentrated poverty of any city in Missouri. However, the goal of this master plan is to change that.
It starts by establishing an arena for student growth, learning and achievement at every level and supporting this by implementing a rigorous and modernized curriculum to help ensure greater opportunities for successful futures.
Additionally, an environment in the neighborhoods surrounding these schools that has state-of-the-art construction, amenities, safe walkways and safe streets can transform the way the residents of the area not only view themselves, but also their neighborhood. Transforming neighborhoods is the first step to changing the outcomes for the people who live in those neighborhoods.
Whether it’s a new roof, HVAC upgrades, improved technology, a stronger and more focused curriculum or even a new pow pool, it’s safe to say the master plan in Cape Girardeau is moving along swimmingly.
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