School fixup on ballot in Truman

TRUMAN – On Tuesday, voters in the Truman school district will decide the fate of a $1.25 million capital projects referendum.

According to Superintendent Tom Ames, the referendum, if approved, will be used “to improve school facilities and update technology systems and equipment for students, staff and community members” over a 10-year period.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Truman High School library.

If voters support the referendum, the injection of funds into the school’s operating budget will be used to repair and upgrade the building, which is composed of three sections.

According to information supplied by Ames, the oldest section of the building, containing the auditorium/gym and elementary classrooms, was built in 1935. Subsequent additions were built in 1952, 1958 and 1963, resulting in an average building age of almost 60 years.

Funds would be used to replace sidewalks, areas of the roof, the gym air handler and ceiling fans, and upgrade plumbing, as well as complete other fixups.

Upgrading and maintaining technology at the school is another area of deficiency, according to Ames’ information. Because of financial constraints, the district has been able to purchase only used computers, not new technology, for the past several years. As a result, the computers are operating with a system no longer supported by Microsoft.

If the referendum passes, replacing 30 student computers is on the agenda for the 2014-15 school year, the first year extra funds would be available. Technical support services and an annual anti-virus and Internet filter subscription would be included in the yearly expenditures.

Approval of the referendum will increase taxes for district residents, according to Ames’ information.

For a residential homestead property with an estimated market value of $100,000, the cost will be $17 per year, while a commercial/industrial property with the same value would see $35 added to its tax bill.

For agricultural homesteads valued at $400,000, the taxes would go up $50; for non-homestead agricultural property, the increase would be $1.18 per acre for land valued at $5,000 per acre.