Warren County R-III school board elects against spending $1.2M as bond moves forward

By John Rohlf, Staff Writer
Posted 7/11/23

Bid documents were projected to cost the district $1.289 million.

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Warren County R-III school board elects against spending $1.2M as bond moves forward


The Warren County R-III Board of Education recently approved proceeding with surveying, performing borings and creating a brochure for the bond issue for the proposed new elementary school north of Interstate 70.

The R-III Board of Education unanimously approved a motion to proceed with surveying the land, performing geotechnical borings of the property and creating brochure information of the building. The projected cost for all three items is about $45,000. The estimated cost for the borings is about $25,000. The cost for the survey and brochure information is projected to be about $10,000 each. 

“We’re going to need a survey of this property,” R-III Superintendent Dr. Gregg Klinginsmith said. “That won’t change unless something major happens somehow. We’re going to need borings done, geotechnical borings … And then we do need some drawings, brochure information. Floor plans that we can put in publications on the website and inform the public what we’re going to do.” 

The Board of Education elected not to proceed with preparing bid documents, which was projected to cost the district $1.289 million. Klinginsmith characterized that investment as a “pretty big gamble for the district.” 

Board Treasurer Jeff Scheider supported the district not proceeding with preparing the bid documents. Schneider referenced the funds the district needed to cut from the budget a couple budgets ago. He has a tough time spending $1.2 million for bid documents the district could potentially not be able to utilize. 

“That’s my fear I guess is that this board has worked hard to be fiscally responsible. Get us back to a balanced budget operationally,” Schneider said. “And I think that’s a whole lot more positive message when we’re asking for a bond issue than well, we got back to a balanced budget but then we went away from the balanced budget kind of preceding the vote.” 

Board member Rich Barton said he would not make that risk with his own money. He questioned why the district would take that risk with district taxpayers’ money. 

Board President Franci Schwartz said she does not want the district spending the funds ahead of the bond vote to be potentially something negative to cause voters to vote against the bond because they think the district has not been responsible with district money. 

Board member Carolyn Spraggs said she spoke with general contractors around the area. Spraggs said the general contractors told her $500 per square foot is the lowest the district would get and $580 per square foot is pretty comfortable. 

“He said that’s about what you’re going to get right now,” Spraggs said. “Obviously, you can go on the lower end. It depends on what material you’re using to buffer it because just like with the budget, it’s always better to be like ok, budget for this and then oh, we have a surplus. That’s always a happier story than we thought we were getting this but actually we need this much more.” 

Klinginsmith said he thinks the district’s projected cost of $400 per square foot is a good projected number for the district to utilize. He noted that is about the cost of the Wright City High School construction right now. 

“That’s not the same report I’m getting from my superintendent colleagues,” Klinginsmith said. 

The R-III Board will meet with representatives of LJ Hart later this month. LJ Hart will talk with the board about structuring the debt service this year to maximize the project. 

Last month, the Warren County R-III Board of Education approved using a no tax increase bond issue to build an elementary school on property the district owns north of Interstate 70, pending funding availability. If the April 2024 bond issue is approved, the district’s plan is to move Daniel Boone Elementary from its current site to the new building. The current Daniel Boone Elementary building would be used for early childhood. 

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