By Kathy Feist
A new gymnasium may be in the future for Martin City K-8 School, according to Grandview School District Superintendent Kenny Rodriguez.
Rodriguez spoke at the February 11th Martin City Community Improvement District (CID) meeting to outline the schools’ plan for a no-tax increase bond issue and a 60-cent property tax levy that will appear on the April 6th ballot.
In addition to improvements at the Martin City K-8 School, the $45 million bond proposes several improvements to the Grandview High School, including its industrial technology area, stadium visitor-side renovation, cafeteria remodel and locker rooms.
“We are a one high school town,” Rodriguez said. “We put quite a bit of the improvements into our high school because it touches all students.”
Other improvements include district athletic facility improvements, new windows at Grandview Middle School and Meadowmere Elementary, playground improvements, middle school locker rooms, security improvements, and the “unsexy” but necessary items such as new roofs and HVACs.
Currently Martin City elementary and middle school students share one gym. A new gym would be built on either the south or east end of the building, Rodriguez speculated. Planning the project may take a year or two. In addition to the gym, the addition may include a fine arts space.
Other improvements to Martin City K-8 would include restroom and entryway remodels. Currently, visitors enter into an open cafeteria. New plans will wall off the cafeteria, creating a more secure hallway to the front office. Rodriguez stated that while funds from bonds will be used for facility improvements, the 60-cent tax levy will be used for salaries and benefits to recruit and retain quality personnel.
“It’s been 17 years since the last property tax levy increase,” said Rodriguez. “We’ve done a good job of being fiscally responsible. However, we are in a different time period. Budgets have been cut twice since then. And we can expect more cuts.”
State Aid and property taxes are the largest sources of revenue for school districts. Should the levy pass, a 60-cent increase in property tax for a home valued at $150,000 would amount to an annual increase of $171.
“The funds would help maintain the district’s goal of being at the top third tier for teachers’ salaries in the state of Missouri. Offering a competitive salary and insurance benefits help the district provide quality teachers during the current teacher shortage,” Rodriguez said.
Salaries and benefits comprise 80% of a public school’s budget. Rodiruguez said he was confident the levy will pass in the upcoming election.
On another note, Rodiguez said students will return to school using the hybrid model (choosing in-person or virtual education) after the spring break, March 15-19.
Other CID Business
The Martin City CID meeting continued with guest Jeff Schroeder, president of Scharhag Architects, who presented plans for a new retail/office space at 13208 Holmes Rd. The property was recently purchased by Rick Ramsey, owner of Martin City Coffee and Ramsey’s Burgers across the street.
Plans are for a 25,000-square-foot rectangular building, 26 feet tall with 14 retail spaces, some of which are expected to combine into larger spaces. The brick, stone and stucco building will face Holmes Road and include three driveways. The plans include three 40-foot green spaces and a sidewalk. The property is currently zoned for single-family residential (R-7.5). The developer is seeking rezoning for a neighborhood business (B1-1). Once rezoning is approved, the CID board plans to go through the process to include the property in the Martin City CID.
Other CID meeting topics included the announcement of the arrival of bike racks for the community, the approval of Orion Security’s contract (with corrections to time period), suggestions for marketing, and this discouraging report: no St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year.