Additional new Wildcat logos and the tax levy for 2015-2016 were approved Monday night by the Neosho R-5 School District Board of Education.

Additional new Wildcat logos and the tax levy for 2015-2016 were approved Monday night by the Neosho R-5 School District Board of Education.

The adjusted tax rate for school operations will remain at $2.75 per $100 assessed valuation, expected to provide revenues of $7,792,051. The debt service levy is 60 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Tim Crawley, assistant superintendent for business and finance, anticipated the levy will bring in revenues of $1,721,902. That is an increase of 24 cents due to the bond issue to construct a junior high school approved by voters in April.

The assessed valuation of the school district increased .8166 percent, Crawley said, from $284,658,927 to $286,983,986, an increase of $2,325,059, though that is as much growth as experienced the year before.

“It does bring a slight increase in revenue,” he said. “We saw most of it really on reassessment. We were down. We were about half of what we were last year in new construction, but last year’s new construction was probably one of the biggest years we had in a couple of years. I expect to see another one next year because we’ll see Love’s (Travel Stop) and some of those other things will be on there for next year.”

Crawley anticipated assessed valuation in the district will rise between 1 percent and 1.5 percent, which he said has been about the average for several years. The total expected new revenue is $761,060.85, with $665,210.65 from reassessment.

The total $3.35 tax levy means a taxpayer owning a home assessed at $80,000 will pay $509.20 in residential property tax, while an automobile valued at $15,000 will cost the owner $165.83 in personal property taxes.

The tuition rate of $7,000 per student approved by the board remains the same as last year.

To get the image and branding of the school district more into the forefront, the board approved a side view and a cub Wildcat logo, a Neosho “N” and a tag line, according to Meagan Spangler, the district’s public relations director. The district unveiled a new frontal Wildcat logo to the public Aug. 8 after previous board approval.

“The reason for the cub (is) if you go around to all of our elementaries, there is a version of a Wildcat cub,” Spangler said. “We saw there was a need, and if we’re going to have one, let’s have one that is consistent and that all of our schools can claim and can be their own. This cub, again, is unique to Neosho and Neosho only, and it also has a striking resemblance to our adult Wildcat.”

Like its big sibling, she said, the cub has a black patch and a little overbite, “but it makes him pretty cute, and he’s kind of got a little thumbs-up so he looks very relatable to the kids, just like he’s always a good guy, telling them to be a good character.”

The profile-facing Wildcat is the same cat as the front-view logo, except for the angle of the view, Spangler said. Some expressed they could not use a Wildcat as they wanted because it couldn’t be discerned from far distances, but the side view enables the Wildcat to be recognized from far away.

“An example would be a helmet or a shoulder pad where it’s far away and you just need to see a profile to be very clear what it is,” she said. “We had a lot of interest in that, and we wanted to meet the needs of what everyone wanted. So far, the response has been good. Our kids, the younger generations, have really taken a liking to it, the ones who have seen it.”

The vector N, which Spangler said is same block N, just in a vector format for consistency, was approved.

“Last is our official slogan,” she said. “We are officially going back to ‘The Pride of Southwest Missouri.’” Missouri is shortened to “Mo,” with the tag line written in a clean, modern, block font.

“We’re going back to our roots there,” Spangler said. “That’s another thing we heard when we did our surveys and we talked to our public and to our teachers. (It) was we were the Pride of Southwest Missouri, so that was important to us.”

The school board approved an Apple lease agreement that means the district will realize its One-to-One technology initiative a year early.

“This was the last piece to the get our iPads for our elementaries at the number and the ratio we want,” Crawley said. “By the time we get to (grades) five through eight, which is really focused on for next year, our hope is to have technology in the hands of every kid from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.”

The agreement allows for receipt of the remaining needed devices for kindergarten through fourth grade now and payment next year.

Allied Tire & Oil Co. of Joplin will provide bus tires for the district. By previously moving to Goodyear tires through the company, Crawley claimed, district buses are getting 10,000 to 15,000 extra miles per tire.