The Lincoln County R-III Board of Education voted unanimously to place a NO-TAX increase bond issue on the April 2014 ballot in their November meeting. Proposition KIDS, Keep Improving District Schools, will ask voters for permission to construct a second middle school for the district. If successful in 2014, building a second middle school will take approximately 18-24 months to construct and open in August 2016.
In 2010, the Long Range Planning Team, consisting of employees and community members, deemed a second middle school a top priority, but the R-III District did not have enough bonding capacity to complete the project. Instead, the team proceeded to address the lack of space at the elementary schools by passing the smallest no-tax bond issue in district history in April 2012. The successful measure created a new home for the Early Childhood Education Center and re-purposed a portion of the Claude Brown Building into a small K-5 elementary. Superintendent Mark Penny believes the time is now.
“We have the bonding capacity we need now to address a second middle school and reduce the size of the student body at Troy Middle School. In Missouri, we’re the largest middle school. This is all our students have ever known.” Penny stated the sheer size of the student body at Troy Middle School (TMS) can make supervision difficult and creates 9 lunch shifts between 10:10 am – 1:26 pm. He also said there are academic advantages to have a smaller student body and cites gains in the Lindbergh School District, which used to have the largest middle school before opening a second in 2011.
“They saw immediate improvement in academics and the percentage of students scoring advanced or proficient on standardized tests. They saw gains of more than 7% advanced or proficient in Communication Arts and more than 10% gains in Math,” he said.
Advanced planning by the Board of Education and a Boundary Committee has determined the future location and boundaries for a potential second middle school. The Lincoln County R-III School District purchased 125 acres of foreclosed property near the Crooked Creek subdivision in September 2011 for $2,300 per acre. While creating boundaries in 2012-13 for Claude Brown Elementary the Boundary Committee planned for a future with two middle schools. The committee, made up of 30 parents and grandparents, created “feeder” schools for a two middle school district. Claude Brown Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and William Cappel Elementary will become “feeder” schools to a second middle school. Boone Elementary, Hawk Point Elementary, Cuivre Park Elementary and Main Street Elementary will become “feeder” schools to Troy Middle School.
A second middle school is the final piece to the current Long Range Plan for the district. If the measure is successful and a second middle school opens in 2016, Claude Brown Elementary will be able to naturally expand into a larger K-5 school. The Boundary Committee built a boundary for Claude Brown Elementary around an area likely to grow according to the district’s planner. Currently, the Long Range Planning Team is convening to create the next phase of a plan.
Beginning in 2014, Superintendent Mark Penny and Community Relations Specialist April Bryant will present information to organizations, PTOS and other groups interested in learning more. If you have a group interested in scheduling a visit, please contact April Bryant at 636-462-6098 extension 2.