A reworked tax  increase proposal, new school, status of Rising Star all on R-3’s plate

The Platte County R-3 School District Board of Education figures to have some important decisions to make in the coming weeks and months.

For starters, the Board will have to decide whether it wants to try again to get approval from District patrons for a tax levy increase. A 60-cent levy increase proposal was shot down by voters in 2012 and the Board is considering whether to put a revamped proposal of approximately 58 cents with a sunset clause on the ballot in 2014. If it wishes to place the measure on the April ballot, a January deadline looms. The Board’s decision on that matter will likely affect two other decisions the District faces concerning its facilities. District officials say a levy increase is needed to fund a new elementary school in Platte City and classroom additions to Pathfinder Elementary at its Barry campus, which will address current and projected increases in student enrollment that have most R-3 classroom buildings near-, at- or over-capacity. In addition, the Board must decide the fate of Rising Star Elementary in Platte City. The 60-year-old structure is in need of various improvements that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, prompting District officials to consider whether shuttering the building may be more cost-effective. At its meeting last week, the Board of Education heard presentations from District architects and engineers about both issues. “The BOE will use this information along with other relevant information to determine what to do and when to do it,” R-3 Superintendent Dr. Mike Reik said. “The ‘when’ decision comes with complicating factors such as shrinking capacity, continued growth, cost escalation and an aging building that has become less than predictable.” First up was the report on Rising Star by Hollis and Miller Architects.