Over the past year, I’ve written several stories about the Platte County R-3 Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), which was formed in the wake of the R-3 School District’s 2012 tax levy increase proposal defeat at the polls.
The group of two dozen or so was comprised of R-3 staff, patrons and community members, some of whom were opponents of the tax levy increase issue on last year’s ballot. The CAC’s purpose was multi-faceted.
First, it was charged with examining factors that led to the tax increase being shot down and offering some advice or perspective as to how the District would address those factors.
Next, it was asked to digest information from the District that not only shows student population currently exceeding R-3 classroom space, but projections of total enrollment — now at 3,700 — eclipsing the 5,000 mark in the next several years.
Finally, it was tasked with exploring options for handling this growth and then presenting its findings to the Platte County R-3 Board of Education.
The CAC will do that at the Board’s meeting Thursday night at the R-3 Central Office in Platte City, but I wanted to give all you readers a heads-up about what the CAC’s findings will entail.
First, a 58-cent tax levy increase is needed to fund a new $19.8 million elementary school and some other improvements, most notably in the areas of technology. The CAC favors putting the question on the April 2014 ballot.
Second, there needs to be a sunset, or end, to the tax in 20 years.
And, finally, the CAC feels that the District needs to close down Rising Star Elementary in PlatteCity when the new elementary school opens in 2015.
We’ll have more on this next week when we report on Thursday’s Board meeting, but here’s the takeaway from this column: R-3’s growth issues are still here, the District realized it needed a better message and it convened a group representative of patrons/voters to help them compose that message.
To those of you who supported the tax increase in 2012, these findings probably reinforce what you already believe — the R-3 tax levy is one of the lowest in the KC metro and you’re willing to support an increase to keep R-3 students out of temporary trailer classrooms.
To those of you who voted against the increase for reasons other than merely being anti-tax or anti-government, perhaps these findings — if accepted by and acted on by the R-3 Board of Education — might convince you to take another look at supporting the most valuable commodity the community has.
READY FOR THE FAIR?
Ready or not, the hottest event of the summer will descend upon our Fair county (I couldn’t resist) next week. And whether you’re a fan or not, you have to admit: 150 consecutive years is quite a run.
Yes, this is the 150th Annual Fair, which means a few things.
First, it’s 123 years older than our annual Platte County Fair Guide, the 27th rendition of which you can find inserted in this issue.
It’s 40 pages packed full of Fair stories, pics and special local advertisements commemorating this special event.
Second, the Fair Board has been planning for this sesquicentennial for the past five years or so and they have added a few things for this year’s shindig. Most notably, an extra day has been added — the Fair opens July 23, and with free admission to boot.
Another interesting add-on for this year is the beard contest, making its reappearance at the Fair for the first time since the 100th Annual Fair in 1963. That should be hairy (I couldn’t resist, part two — sorry).
One change that has ruffled some folks’ feathers, though, is the elimination of one of the demolition derby nights. Normally, the derby is held Wednesday and Thursday, but this year it will only be staged on Wednesday, followed by the mud marathon on Thursday and a tractor pull expanded to two nights on Friday and Saturday.
I have heard a few reasons for this — Derby participation has been waning in recent years because people just can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a disposable car, more money is made from the tractor pull, etc., etc.
But I still don’t get it and I’m not even a Derby participant. Why celebrate the 150th anniversary of The Fair by messing withone of its most popular traditions?
At any rate, it’s still the Fair, it’s still the hottest event of the summer and I will still be there Thursday night, running the Bremer Beer Stand with my merry crew of cold beverage purveyors. Come by and say hi.
See you at the Fair.
UNITED WE STAND?
Otherwise, there is no way a grown man with a gun gets away with first picking a fight with and then shooting an unarmed 17-year-old. Period.
Otherwise, there is no way GOP legislators would spend every waking moment trying to repeal a law that will help tens of millions of Americans get access to what should be a basic right: affordable healthcare.
I tweeted this recently and I think it bears repeating: If the GOP spent half as much time helping Americans in need get health insurance as they do attacking Obamacare, there would be no need for Obamacare.
In other words, let’s help not hinder.
Thanks for reading.
Lee Stubbs is owner/editor of The Citizen. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.