Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do we need a tornado safe room?
Answer: On May 20, 2013 an E-F5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma destroying two elementary buildings
with children inside. On May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri was hit with an E-F5 tornado that left 161 lives lost. The
school district was devastated along with much of the town. On May 25, 2011 an E-F2 tornado caused enough
damage to schools in Sedalia, Missouri that the school year ended early. On April 2, 2006 an F-4 tornado
destroyed most of the High School in Caruthersville, Missouri and significantly damaged the elementary. More
close to home, on March 12, 2006 an F-3 tornado narrowly missed South Elementary School. According to
usa.com, Missouri is in the top 10 for the most number of tornadoes by state. In addition, according to NOAA,
Missouri and Oklahoma are ranked third for the highest number of deaths at school from tornadoes.
2. If a shelter is important, what about South Elementary School? Are they being left out?
Answer: The District has opted not to include South Elementary School on the current FEMA Grant because of
the lack of population and small amount of funding that would be obtained. However, the 15 cent levy will allow the
District to purchase a shelter for the South Elementary that will not require the same “extra hoops” to jump through
as the FEMA Grant on main campus. The District is looking at other small building grants that are available to
further offset the cost. Regardless, both campuses will have a storm shelter available for all the students.
3. Why build a Performing Arts Center/Auditorium?
Answer: Our District has utilized a Facility and Safety Committee to make recommendations about priority needs
for the District. The Committee recognized a need for an auditorium as early as 2005. The District has
worked hard to provide for the needs of all programs in the district. When the Agriculture program was in need of
expansion and safer equipment, a new FFA building and Greenhouse was constructed. When the football team
was in need of better locker room facilities and weight room, a Sports Complex was constructed. When the District
was no longer eligible to hold track meets because of the poor condition of the track, a new all-weather track was
provided. Last year the District had approximately 239 middle and high students participating in the various
performing arts offered by the District without an adequate place to rehearse and perform. This is not including the
number of elementary students who have not had an adequate facility for music performances that would also
benefit from a Performing Arts Center/Auditorium.
4. What is the current district levy?
Answer: The current Morgan County R-II School District tax levy is $2.75 per $100 assessed valuation.
5. How long has the district levy been at $2.75?
Answer: The Morgan County R-II School District Board of Education first set the levy at $2.75 in August of 1999.
In 1994, the District levy was $2.92 per $100 assessed valuation. In 1999 the district rolled the levy back to the
present $2.75 level.
6. How many people will the shelter hold?
Answer: Shelters at both campuses will be required to house the entire population of students and staff members. At South Elementary School, we are planning for a shelter to house 75 people; there are currently 55 students
at South Elementary School. At the Versailles campus we are planning for a shelter to house approximately 1,700 people. There are currently 1,450 students and 220 staff members.
7. I’ve always heard our district has plenty of money. Why do we need to increase the levy?
Answer: Our district has been fortunate in years past that building projects have been able to be funded in the existing budget. However; since the 2009-2010 school year, the school district has lost (from all
sources combined) a total of approximately $887,575.56 in revenue. We have made proportionate cuts in our
expenditures during the same years. We have taken advantage of retirements and people leaving the district for
various reasons to help ensure we are not top heavy or overloaded on staff. We were able to reduce a total of 22 full
time positions. In addition, we have limited travel to a 60 mile radius (except conference schools) for all sports to
ensure we are not incurring too much transportation cost and have eliminated pep buses from long-distance events. The district eliminated summer school, refrained from purchasing new buses, and cut supply lines over the past few
years. With the reduction in revenue, we are reaching the point where we cannot continue to cover building
improvements that we were once able to cover out of our general operating funds without an increase in revenue.
The 15 cent levy would allow us to continue improvement of the facilities….i.e. the performing arts
8. How much will the 15 cent increase really cost me?
Answer: The following illustration is based on residential property assessed at 19% (State Tax Commission). As
you can see from the table below, an individual owning a home with a fair market value of $75,000 is currently
paying $391.88 in school taxes. With the 15 cent levy, this individual would see an increase of $21.37.
Answer: When submitting for the FEMA grant for the tornado shelter, we used the entire population of main
campus as the basis for the amount of grant revenue it would generate. One of the conditions that we are required
to meet is that the shelter must be able to be reached by the entire population of main campus in less than 5
minutes. We conducted a drill in October 2012 to ensure that we could meet this requirement. We have submitted
two sites to FEMA for a potential building site. The first site is located directly behind the Middle School in the
lower parking lot. The advantage to this site is that it is located closer to the youngest students which ensure they
have less distance to travel. The disadvantage to this site is that the lower parking lot floods which would present
some construction challenges. The alternative site is located at the front of the high school to the west of the front
entrance. Both sites meet the requirement of being accessible to the entire population in less than 5 minutes. To
this date, we have had a preliminary meeting with the architectural and engineering firm for them to evaluate both
sites and begin to put together a recommendation for best location and the associated costs of ensuring the sites
can be prepared properly for construction.