With just over a month before the April 7 school and municipal elections in which a $24 million dollar bond issue to build a junior high school in the Neosho R-5 School District will be decided, the Neosho’s Future Committee continues to gather steam and pick up new community members to forward the campaign.

With just over a month before the April 7 school and municipal elections in which a $24 million dollar bond issue to build a junior high school in the Neosho R-5 School District will be decided, the Neosho’s Future Committee continues to gather steam and pick up new community members to forward the campaign.

With a nucleus of school teachers and staff initially pushing the effort, community members jumped on board to support the cause, including committee chair Tim Mitchell. Meeting at 5 p.m. each Wednesday in the Neosho Middle School, Mitchell said the committee is now disseminating marketing materials to the R-5 public.

“We’ve got some postcards that we’ve been handing out, we’ve had some business cards made,” Mitchell said. “We continue to have lots of questions on our social media site, specifically Facebook. And a lot of questions are getting answered on that social media site. Some individuals will ask questions a lot of people hadn’t thought about, so it’s actually been a good forum to discuss some issues. We’re trying to keep it as positive as possible.”

Mitchell said some patrons have expressed concerns about past developments and noted the committee understands and appreciates those concerns.

“But we feel like the current board and the administration is looking forward,” he said. “They have a plan and are moving forward.”

Mitchell said display boards have been assembled to showcase the plan in places around the community, where people gather.

“We are setting up at community events, social organizations,” he said. “We’ve spoken with the Rotary Club, the Lions’ Club and I think we’re going to be speaking to the Exchange Club and so forth. We’ve been at a lot of the school events, basketball games, there was an event last Thursday night at the middle school parent night, we set up a nice booth there and had a lot of information.”

Mitchell said a large effort is being made to find those who are eligible — but not registered — to vote by the March 11 deadline. And to inform them about the issue and then convince them to make their voice heard on election day.

“We’re going to make a list of all those people, remind them, call them on the day or the day before to remind them to go out and vote,” he said.

Mitchell said members of a sub-committee bring voter registration forms to the various community functions to help those who are not registered get those filled out and submitted to the county clerk’s office.

He said a family that just recently moved to town attended last Thursday’s middle school family night.

“And weren’t registered to vote,” he said. “And they were excited about being in the community and that’s what it’s all about really. We see these new individuals come into the community, they just came from Texas. Were excited about being here and we’d love to have them on board with us.”

Mitchell challenged other committee members and members of the community to each seek out 25 people to ensure they are registered to vote – and then committed to vote on election day.

“I’ve asked 100 people to find 25 people, so that looks at 2,500 people basically,” he said. “To vote ‘yes,’ we feel like that’s our threshold to be able to try to get this thing passed. And those 25 people that have committed to vote ‘yes,’ we’re going to make sure we follow up with them on the day before and the day of the election to make sure they get out and vote.”

Mitchell said their consensus is that low voter turnout at the previous two elections featuring similar bond issues contributed to their demise, so encouraging turnout on election day is vital to success this time.

“We do feel like the majority of our community wants it to pass,” he said. “So we’re trying to go out, rally the troops and just make sure everybody that is for it is able to get out and vote. I know there are going to be individuals that are not for the bond issue and they are surely entitled to voice their opinion and go vote. But we feel like the number of ‘yes’ votes should have been much higher, it’s just the lack of voter turnout in the past is one of our things. That’s one of the things we’re trying to concentrate on right now.”

Mitchell said signs promoting the issue should start springing up next week and larger banners will be hung in strategic locations around the community.

“To make sure that everybody can see them,” he said. “Try to let everybody know that, ‘It’s Time’ (The campaign slogan). And I think the community is realizing the importance of this, not just on social media, but throughout the community wherever they may be.”

Mitchell and committee members are available to answer any questions. He invites leaders of any organization to request someone from the committee to come speak to them to explain the bond issue. To request a Neosho’s Future Committee presentation, contact Mitchell at 389-1899, co-chair Jeff Werneke at 592-8874, or Vickie Barnes at 389-0909.

He said Neosho’s Future will be represented at the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce Business & Industry Review March 20-21.

Mitchell said television and newspaper ads will be forthcoming closer to the election.

He said an Awareness Walk is scheduled during the week before the election, as supporters will walk from the middle school campus to the eighth grade wing on the south side of the high school campus.

“We’ve had a lot of support and everybody’s been very excited about trying to support it,” said Mitchell. “Hopefully we can get the word out to get everybody to the polls.”

For more information, visit neoshosfuture.org or the committee’s Facebook page.