Proposition KIDS, (Keep Improving District Schools) is a no-tax increase measure appearing on the April 8 ballot for the Lincoln County R-III School District. The no-tax increase measure will ask voters for permission to construct a second middle school for the district while continuing to make improvements to Troy Middle School (TMS). Constructing a second middle school is the next step to the R-III District’s current Long Range Plan.
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 recommended to the Board of Education to continue to address the lack of space at the elementary schools. In 2012, voters approved a no-tax increase bond issue and 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 said school district now has the necessary bonding capacity to address the size of Troy Middle School, which is currently the largest in Missouri.
“Troy Middle School’s size creates logistics issues such as busing and lunches and reduces services, programming and opportunities afforded to our middle school students. When you are as big as TMS, it may be easy for some students to feel ‘lost’, and that’s the last thing we want,” Penny said.
The 1956 school has physical constraints, too. The cafeteria and canteen serve 350-400 students during each shift. Lunch begins at 10:10 a.m. and runs through 1:26 p.m. Students also share the gymnasium and library at the Claude Brown Building and do not have access to an open computer lab. There are four “computer labs” in TMS, but there is instruction taking place in the labs each hour of the day. The main middle school library has 30 computers for student use during various portions of the day.
If the measure is successful, a second middle school would open in 2016 with capacity for 600-650 students. While the division of population isn’t 50-50, Superintendent Penny feels TMS will experience some much needed “breathing room” with approximately 800 students remaining.
He said constructing a second middle school would also continue to provide room for growth the elementary levels. If a second middle school opens, 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.
“We feel like we have a solid plan to address the size of our middle school and future growth at the elementary level,” Penny said. Penny and Community Relations Specialist April Bryant are happy to present more information on Proposition KIDS to groups interested in learning more. If you have a group interested in scheduling a visit, please contact Bryant at 636-462-6098 extension 2.