Ozark Schools Add $19 Million No Tax Increase and Levy Transfer on April Ballot
Ozark voters will see two questions from Ozark School District on the April 2022 ballot — a $19 million no tax increase bond issue to construct three storm shelters, and a 10 cent no tax increase levy transfer to help offset rising operating costs.
“Safety continues to be a top priority for Ozark School District and the families of Ozark,” Superintendent Dr. Chris Bauman said. “The two questions on the ballot will not only address safety but help us accommodate our continued growth.”
The decision to place the questions on the April ballot comes after completing a demographic study and collecting feedback from the community during a series of Long Range Planning Committee meetings this fall. The Ozark community has continually ranked safety at the top of our long range planning criteria.
“We have appreciated the enthusiastic and comprehensive involvement of the community in working with us on this plan,” Board President Tom Bass said. “The community has supported the need for continuing safety measures, and we have also taken into consideration increased growth within the District. In this plan, we address safety as well as future growth for the community and the school district. All of this will be accomplished without asking our community for a tax increase.”
If approved, the $19 million no tax increase bond issue will construct storm shelters at Tiger Paw Early Childhood Center, Ozark Middle School and Ozark High School. These additions would mean every school within Ozark School District would have a storm shelter.
The storm shelter at Tiger Paw would also be used as a commercial kitchen and cafeteria. Currently, meals are delivered from East Elementary and eaten in the gymnasium.
As OMS nears capacity, that storm shelter would double as classroom space.
The storm shelter at OHS would serve as physical education and practice space, which not only helps Ozark students, but the community that often uses District facilities outside of school hours.
The District is asking for a 10 cent no tax increase levy transfer to help offset rising operating costs. In 2021, the school was required by state law through the Hancock Amendment to transfer 17 cents from the general operating fund to the debt service fund. This was due to an increase in real estate assessment values.
“This transfer must be approved by the voters and will provide the District approximately $500,000 annually to help offset rising operating costs,” Bauman said.
The general operating fund provides most of the money the District needs for day-to-day operations, such as food, cleaning supplies, materials and supplies for classrooms, and overhead expenses such as electricity.
The overall tax levy of $4.14 will remain the same, regardless of the vote on both Question 1 and Question 2. The District’s tax levy has remained unchanged since 2003.
“Thanks to our Board of Education’s conservative budgeting, we remain committed to not asking our voters for a tax increase,” Bauman said.
For more information, visit www.ozarktigers.org/bond.