Republic School District asks voters to approve $47 million for expansion

REPUBLIC, Mo. – The Republic School District is asking voters to pass a $47 million no-tax-levy-increase bond on April 4 to expand schools. 

In April 2021, the community supported a no-tax-levy-increase bond issue providing the district with a new Early Childhood building. The new building has freed up much-needed classroom space within the city’s five elementary schools.

With the passing of the bond also came the purchase of a $3.6 million, 78-acre tract of land near the city’s Parks and Recreation expansion at the intersection of Highway 60 and James River Expressway. 

Republic School Superintendent Dr. Matt Pearce says if the newly proposed tax levy passes, a new building will be constructed on the property solely for fifth- and sixth-grade students. The school district notes Republic is a quickly expanding business community, bringing multiple new families to the area. 

The city estimates 1,100 new single-family homes and 2,220 new multi-family homes will be built within the next three to five years, bringing 1,000 new students with them.

Pearce says his middle school is one of the largest in the state of Missouri, with a fluctuating population of up to 1,200. Pearce told The Heartlander a new fifth-and-sixth-grade building would solve many of the district’s congestion issues. 

“That will take about 400 kids out of sixth grade in the middle school, and it will take somewhere between 80 to 100 out of the elementary school and give us more room in the elementary schools and the middle school,” Pearce said.

A no-tax-levy-increase bond issue means that to pay for the project the district is asking taxpayers to extend its debt, Pearce says.

If the bond issue doesn’t pass in April, the district plans to keep most of its newly purchased land for future projects. Pearce says without a new fifth-and-sixth-grade center, parents also will see more traffic issues between the five elementary schools. Additionally, the district would be forced to discuss the purchase of modular classrooms. 

“Several of our elementary schools are in close proximity to one another. Continued growth of those schools is going to gum up the morning and afternoon pick up procedures.”

The district says it is important to note the proposed $47 million no-tax-levy-increase would fully fund the new project without increasing the tax rate, instead extending the current rate.

The district plans to share more information about the potential fifth-and-sixth-grade center in late January.

“The livelihood of a bustling and growing city – a big piece of that is the school system,” Pearce said. “In our area we’ve got a growing city with lots of infrastructure around. We have a great school district and we have people continually wanting to move into our area and school district.

“When all of those things come together, we’ve got to support the growth of the school district too, so we can take care of our kids and have an environment that we’re all proud of as Republic Tigers, so our children can be educated and come to a great place to school each and every day.”

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