April 4 Election Results: Bond passes

Voters approve improvements, including a new building for the high school



Nixa voters recently approved of a $47 million no tax levy bond issue that will benefit the school district as well as the city. Superintendent Gearl Loden understands that with a growing community, Nixa Public Schools will have to do more to serve the entire district and each school’s needs.
“If you look around at the high school and you think about the fact we are getting larger, we have the [38 acres of] land we purchased a few years ago,” Loden said. “We have learned from working with our architects that the high school can fit up to 3,300 students without having to do anything with Mathews like making it a ninth grade complex. Part of that is to take the land we have [available] and start taking each bond and different parts of the land and develop it for the future.”
According to Loden, those plans for the land are already taking shape.
“At the high school, we’d take it and make it into a multipurpose facility,” Loden said. “That would allow the band to march in the mornings, and for the football team to practice indoors when they need to. There will also be a couple of classes there for physical education. Plus, our old locker room can be used for different sports. It gives the team that may not have a place [an area] to get ready and train.”
Newly elected School Board President Joshua Roberts emphasizes that the bond issue deals with a lot of other improvements outside of the high school.
“[Other issues like] constructing new classrooms at the junior high and renovating the theater [are also needs as well,]” Roberts said. “[The bond also includes] buying new buses for the district and drop off and pick up improvements at Espy and John Thomas School of Discovery.”
Director of Communications Zac Rantz believes that this bond issue will impact each voter.
“We just want to make sure we maintain that high standard of excellence that we have been able to have for years upon years,” Rantz said. “It is something that impacts
every single person, whether
they have students in the school or not. Something we want to add on is a lot of community spaces so even the multipurpose space is designed to give our community opportunities. When we design, we design for our students and see how our community can benefit from it.”
Roberts said he is looking forward to the space the community will have as well as having space for extracurriculars.
“We have insufficient space for everyone to practice,” Roberts said. “The dance team is practicing in the cafeteria and the JROTC team is practicing in the hallways. We just need more space, especially in the winter time. Being able to put in an indoor facility across from the football stadium would be great for all different levels of activity for our students.”
Although the bond means increasing the district’s debt load, Loden said he hopes to lead the district to continued improvement.
“When you look at Nixa and you
look at how we are ranked on [Annual Performance Reports], there are over 500 districts and we are ranked 13th in the state.” Loden said. “When you take out the K-8 districts, we are number 9 in the state. When we look at how much we spend per child, we are spending 25 percent below the state average. … We are a really good deal, but that does mean we are kind of fragile because our core budget [80 percent] is spent on people, so that only gives us a small portion to turn the lights on and maintain the buildings and these bonds help us with that.”
Aside from the bond, the city also voted for school board members. School board President Linda Daughtery and Heather Zoromski both ran for reelection and were able to keep their spot secured.
Brett Dunn had been on the board since 2009 and did not run for another term. Alex Bryant won the spot that Brett Dunn previously held. Zoromski has been on the school board since 2020 and hopes for improved community input.
“Those opportunities are important as we make decisions regarding the future of Nixa Public Schools and our growth,” Zoromski said. “We did a survey in the fall for the 2023-2024 calendar and the future of the high school and that input was invaluable and that [gave us information] for next year and formed the future for the high school 20 years from now.”
Zoromski said she believes it is important for Nixa to bring empathy throughout the school district.
“[I think it is important] to work for every kid and their individual needs,” Zoromski said. “I have a kiddo with sensory processing disorder and anxiety and I bring about that level of empathy and awareness for all of our kids to the board situation because I know what we have dealt with him and we have had to advocate for him to have some different instruction and additional support, and I want to make sure all of our kids are supported in that capacity.”