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Examiner
  • Voters again asked to shape communities' futures

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  • Blue Springs and Grain Valley voters will soon decide on whether to pass funding for improving their parks or their schools.
    On Feb. 4, Grain Valley voters will decide on a $3.8 million bond that would go toward districtwide security upgrades and high school expansion due to increased enrollment.
    If the bond passes, the seven remaining district buildings will follow Grain Valley North Middle School’s model by installing security systems where visitors have to be buzzed in to gain entry inside, along with being checked in by office personnel.
    Assistant Superintendent Mike Snow said the measures will be used as more of a precaution in order to make Grain Valley schools safer.
    “We have become more conscious about security.”
    However, Snow says most of the bond will go toward new classrooms, especially ones geared toward industrial technology and other related sciences at Grain Valley High School.
    “We simply have more students than room,” Snow said.
    According to the district, there has been a 350 percent increase of student enrollment since 1990. Snow said there has been a high demand for S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses as a result.
    “If the bond passes, we will add new Project Lead the Way rooms that will house engineering, robotics, drafting, woodshop and other industrial tech classes.”
    And if there are enough funds saved or available after these two projects are completed – which is expected to be by fall 2014 – Snow said plans are for building a new greenhouse at the high school and reroofing the entire facility as well.
    “We’re confident and hopeful that it (bond) will pass.”
    Meanwhile, Blue Springs Park Commission is trying once again to put a half-cent sales tax increase on the April ballot in order to fund park maintenance and a new community center. As reported earlier, the difference this time around is the sales tax increase will have a 30-year sunset as opposed to being in perpetuity when asked last November. The sunset would consequently make a slightly smaller community center than the one originally proposed a couple months ago.
    Nevertheless, the proposal still must be approved by Blue Springs City Council in order for it to be included on the April ballot. The deadline to get an issue on the April ballot is Jan. 28.
    “It’s ultimately the council’s decision,” says Blue Springs Parks and Recreation director Dennis Dovel. “The issue will be potentially discussed at the Jan. 21 meeting.”
    Dovel said the parks in Blue Springs continue to age and they need to be addressed soon.
    “It all comes down to a citizen’s want. It’s going to take an effort and hopefully people will see the value and the need for park funding.”
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