Two key civic organizations in Seymour officially have endorsed the upcoming 75-cent levy increase for the Seymour R-II School District that appears on next Tuesday’s ballot.

The tax issue has received the support of the Seymour Merchants’ Association and the Seymour Lions Club.

Membership of both organizations voted to support the levy at their most-recent meetings.

“It was unanimous with the merchants,” explained Bob Crump, president of the association, which sponsors the annual Seymour Apple Festival. In addition, the merchants voted to pledge $750 for pro-levy advertising to the Seymour C.A.R.E. (Community Action to Represent Education) committee, a community-based support group dedicated to the levy’s passage.

The Seymour Lions Club voted to support the levy, as well as offering a financial contribution to the Seymour C.A.R.E. committee for its free fish fry that arrives from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Seymour middle- and high-school cafeteria.

If approved, the local school district’s tax levy would increase from the current $2.75 per $100 of assessed valuation to $3.50. The increase would generate an estimated $425,000 in annual revenue for the school, which Superintendent Steve Richards said is sorely needed for his students.

“At the present time, our tax levy is the lowest allowed in the state for a public school to receive state funding,” he noted. “We are at the state-minimum rate of $2.75.”

Neighboring school districts all have higher rates.

In Mansfield, the school levy is $4.10 per $100, while the rate in Fordland is $3.51. Niangua’s rate is $3.88; Marshfield’s is $3.84.

All four school districts border Seymour.

In terms of real dollars, if approved, the 75-cent increase will cost the owner of a $50,000 home $71 a year more in school taxes — or $5.91 per month.

The owner of $100,000 in agricultural land would see an annual school-tax jump of $90 a year — or $7.50 a month.

Richards noted that for families with elementary-age children, passage of next Tuesday’s levy increase could result in actual monetary savings.

“If you are the parent of two children at the Seymour Elementary School and own a home valued at $100,000, then your annual tax increase will be $142,” he explained. “However, the district has pledged to purchase all school supplies for elementary children if the levy passes, which have an average cost of $75 per child, so the net tax impact would be an annual savings of $8.

“Placing this levy increase on the ballot isn’t something that the school board or I wanted to do. Honestly, it was something we had to do to simply ensure that we can adequately serve Seymour’s children.”

Polls next Tuesday open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Local voters have three polling places.

For voters in the Hazelwood and Finley townships in Seymour, voting takes place at the Seymour Nazarene Church at 354 North Main Street.

Voters in the Diggins Township will cast their ballots at the Diggins Community Building, located at the intersection of U.S. 60 and Highway NN (South Diggins Main Street) in Diggins.

And voters in the High Prairie Township north of Seymour vote at the Prospect Fire Station building at 9850 State Highway C, about 10 miles north of town.

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