Archive for Thursday, June 10, 1999

DESOTO VOTERS OK SCHOOL BOND ISSUE

June 10, 1999

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Voters in the DeSoto School district have approved a $42.5 million bond issue for new schools and improvements to existing facilities.

Final results of a mail-in bond issue for the DeSoto school district won't be official until Friday, but voter approval of a $42.5 million bond issue this week isn't expected to change, an official said.

Voters in the district this week approved the bond issue by 2,643 votes to 2,065, or 56.1 percent to 43.9 percent.

The bond issue will allow for construction of a new elementary school in the central part of the district; a new elementary school north of Johnson Drive; a new administration center in DeSoto; tennis courts and athletic fields; and additions to Monticello Trails and Lexington middle schools.

School district officials were not available for comment on Wednesday, but they have said previously that the bond issue is needed to meet large growth in the district.

Sharon Zoellner, assistant superintendent of finance for the district, has said that because of increased valuation, the projected mill levy is expected to increase by only 1 mill.

"Because our assessed valuation is growing, fewer mills are necessary to cover the costs," she said.

A mill is $1 in property taxes for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.

The district's current levy is 69.52 mills.

The district spent an estimated $9,500 to $10,000 to pay for the election, said Connie Schmidt, elections commissioner for Johnson County. The costs include return postage on the ballots.

Schmidt said that ballots by mail are one of the easiest ways for voters to participate.

"My perspective is that it's the most convenient way, from a voter's perspective, to take part," she said.

Even so, of the approximately 8,800 ballots mailed, only 54.5 percent were returned, Schmidt said.

Voters in the district in 1996 rejected a $57.5 million bond issue for new schools. The district went back to the drawing board after that and came up with a $37.6 million bond issue in spring 1997, which voters approved by a narrow 50.28 percent to 49.72 percent margin.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

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