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Public meetings to discuss Blair Oaks high school

Public meetings to discuss Blair Oaks high school

July 11th, 2018 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville

The Blair Oaks R-2 Board of Education is hosting two informational meetings in the coming weeks to gauge the local community's feelings about proposals on how to fund the possible construction of a new high school.

The meetings will be hosted at 7 p.m. in the gym of Blair Oaks Elementary School. The first will be July 19 and another is scheduled for July 31.

Superintendent Jim Jones said there will be opportunities for questions and answers.

The members of the school board have until the Aug. 14 meeting to decide if they want to raise the district's debt service levy by 30 cents, without voter approval.

Taking that path instead of waiting to ask voters to do the same in April 2019 would enable the district to save more money on interest payments later, and to ask voters to approve a bond issue to build a new high school with a bonding capacity that would be a couple hundred thousand dollars larger.

Raising the debt service levy this August would also allow the district to present voters with two no tax increase bond issue questions instead of one in coming elections to pay for the two-phase new high school construction plan.

The board's other business Tuesday night included substitute teacher pay, school meal prices, event prices and school resource officer funding. The board approved a pay raise for substitute teachers to $75 a day.

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Student breakfast and lunch prices in the 2018-19 school year will increase 10 cents, while adult costs for the same meals will rise 55 cents.

Extracurricular event prices for tickets and season passes will remain the same in the coming school year.

The board also approved a 5 percent increase to its contribution for a Cole County Sheriff's Department school resource officer who's also shared with the Cole R-1 (Russellville) and Cole R-5 (Eugene) school districts.

The officer will cost $59,245 a year with the increase, making each of the three districts' shares $19,948 a year. A share last year cost $18,808.

The board also swore in its two new board members, Mark Brandt and Jason Paulsmeyer. Brandt and Paulsmeyer fill the spots on the board left vacant by the departures of Bill Duke and Kevin Ward.