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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Voters approve consolidated school

  • By a margin of over 65 percent, Ralls County school district voters on Tuesday approved the construction of a new elementary school on the Mark Twain campus in Center, bringing students from across the district to one location.
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  • By a margin of over 65 percent, Ralls County school district voters on Tuesday approved the construction of a new elementary school on the Mark Twain campus in Center, bringing students from across the district to one location.
    Ralls County voters approved the proposal by a 771-397 margin. A handful of voters in Monroe (3 yes, 4 no) and Pike (1 yes, 3 no) counties voted against the proposal.
    Overall the measure was supported by 65.73 percent of voters. The proposal required a four-sevenths (57.14) majority.
    “It was very exciting to hear the results,” said Superintendent Deanette Jarman. “I’m excited for our students, staff, community and parents.”
    A proposal to construct a centralized school for students in grades two through five failed in 2007 when approximately 70 percent of voters said “no.”
    According to Jarman, after exploring the creation of grade level centers, where all students of a certain grade would be housed at the same site, district officials were asked by some parents to go before voters again.
    “We appreciate the support of district patrons,” said Jarman, who cited the “very hard work” of a bond issue committee.
    The $7.5 million bond proposal will not increase taxes.
    Proponents of the measure cite safety as being a primary benefit. Once the new school is built, all elementary school students could use the tornado-safe multipurpose building on the Mark Twain campus. Because FEMA regulations require doors be locked soon after a tornado warning is issued, students in New London cannot be bused to the multipurpose building. In New London, the only room that provides protection from a tornado is the boys restroom.
    Students will have access to technology upgrades since the current buildings in Center and New London, designed about 60 years ago, are not adequate for modern computers and other devices.
    The new school will be much more energy efficient and will have a single buzz-in point for security.
    Jarman anticipates that design work on the new building will begin in a few weeks. She added that construction will probably begin in 2015. Anticipated completion is 2016.
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