Ballot questions face voters

Voters in southern Cass County will be heading to the polls Tuesday for the annual Municipal Election. Five ballot issues will be decided in various jurisdictions.

Patrons in the Harrisonville and Ray-Pec school districts are being wooed by the Metropolitan Community Colleges to become a part of their district. The ballot language simply states the districts would be joining the MCC and students would receive in district tuition rates.

But the issue has been criticized by officials in both school districts as it appears school officials have endorsed the plan, which they had not, and not mentioned is a levy of $0.2128 per $100 in assessed valuation. Harrisonville and Ray-Pec are
two of eight school districts in the metro area being asked to join the district.

Ray-Pec officials have been especially sensitive to the issue because the district has its own bond issue on the ballot. Ray-Pec is seeking $72 million in bonds, with no levy increase for a variety of projects which could reshape the district.

One of items is a new “freshman center” to be located near the intersection of MO-291 and MO-58, the same area where the East Middle School is located. The freshman center is thought to be the first step in adding a second high school to the district.

The district also purchased the former Orscheln store in Raymore and would like to convert the 41,000-square-foot building into a trades location. Not to compete with the Cass Career Center or the Summit Tech Academy, both of which work with Ray-Pec students, the new facility would teach programs such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing and computer technology.

Funds from the bond issue will also be used to build a performing arts center on the campus with the current high school. There is also a long list of maintenance issues in the Prop S plan. The last bond request in the district was in 2016.

The Sherwood School District has a somewhat unusual proposition for voters. The district is requesting a $400,000 bond issue, but according to Superintendent Steve Ritter, the bond is only for one day.

The district already has the money in a debt service fund, but it can only be used to pay down debt. Because the money is in
that fund, debt needs to be created to be spent, thus the one-day bond.

“We actually have the money, we are in essence asking permission to spend it,” Ritter said.

Among the projects to be addressed will be two new buses, HVAC needs, structural items and audio-visual equipment in the elementary school.

Part of the money will be used to help pay for new lights on the football field and new lights added to the baseball and softball facilities. Much of that money has already been raised by the booster club along with a grant from Casey’s General Stores.

In the Archie School District, a $1 million no-tax-increase bond is being sought primarily for security issues.

The money will be used for a secured entrance, monitoring cameras as well as general repairs including doors and windows.

The other initiative on the ballot is in Creighton where citizens are being asked to forgo elections if the number of candidates filed is the same as open positions. Many entities in the county already allow the practice.

There are also several municipal, school and fire district elections on the ballot. A complete sample ballot is on pages 2-4D. Polling places are on page 4D.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.