Labor Unions Voice Support for Bond Issue

Published 03/27 2012 12:17AM

Updated 03/29 2012 10:33AM

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Nothing excites people like the promise of new jobs.

"It's just a huge opportunity," said Mike Veale, president of the Northwest Missouri Central Labor Council. "This bond issue is almost like a stimulus package for our community."

For labor unions and the Metro Chamber, the St. Joseph school district's $42 million bond issue could mean more money flowing into the city.

"It'll make it easier for us to attract new employers because we know for a fact that education and education facilities is near top of the list in selection criteria that's considered when a company is looking for the next place to locate," said Ted Allison, president of the St. Joseph Metro Chamber.

It's not just short term they are thinking about either. Building two new schools at Carden Park and Cook Road could spark growth in those areas.

Growth is something community members wouldn't mind seeing.

"With the Cook Road school, I think that that could possibly encourage people who have money to go and build new homes and I think that would be great for the city and the district because those people are going to be paying taxes," said Cathy McKinley, a member of the school district's Grounds and Facility Committee.

McKinley says she would like to see the district's bond issue pass April 3rd. But a few concerns are still left unanswered.

Concerns like transportation to the new schools and extracurricular programs are on the list of things she feels aren't being addressed. Along with that, she is worried there will be more school closures than the PACT is presenting.

But on top of it all, she's worried businesses won't be swayed by the facelift the school district is receiving. Concerns about the education of the school kids could still keep businesses away.

"If anyone has a problem with our school system, it might be that our kids aren't scoring off the charts," said McKinley. "It's not the building it's the testing ability."

Supporters say the new schools would help kids pay attention more in class because of the better teaching facilities.

But skeptics are more concerned about a lack of direct communication between the school board and the public which could sway some votes on the bond issue.

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