Archive for Tuesday, September 28, 2004

School board to formulate new bond proposal

September 28, 2004


For the next several months, the Lawrence school board will focus on forming a plan of action for a bond proposal.

At their Monday night meeting board members outlined some key dates for future discussions about the bond issue.

The bond likely will include money to improve the junior high schools and the science labs at Lawrence High School, and likely will be about $40 million.

"It's not going to be anything that bankrupts people," Supt. Randy Weseman said.

To start forming a proposed bond issue, financial advisors will present information about the district's financial well-being at the board's Oct. 11 meeting. During that discussion, the board will look at the district's bond indebtedness and what it can afford.

Board members also will decide facility needs that should be addressed by a bond issue. Part of that discussion will include a review of options for South Junior High School.

Between official meetings, school board members likely will have study sessions to help shape the proposed bond issue. Once that is completed, board members will take the plan to the public. The hope is to have a proposal formed by Oct. 27.

As board members began outlining a timeline for the bond issue, they debated what it could include.

Weseman said the district might need to consider improvements to its athletics and technology facilities.

State legislators may put a cap on the amount of money districts can raise through taxes for capital outlay projects including technology, Weseman said.

"We're really behind the curve on this, folks," Weseman said of technology in the district. "I had really hoped that could take care of it in the current budget."

Several board members said athletic needs were important but didn't seem to be as big of a priority as educational needs at this time.

"It's not that athletic facilities are bad -- they're good," said board member Rich Minder. "I just don't see a football field making us more efficient."

Board member Leonard Ortiz said, however, that athletics were part of a well-rounded education.

Rather than ignoring those needs, the district should address them somehow, board member Linda Robinson said.

People are going to want the things they want most right now, Weseman said.

"The key here is that you're able to tell the public that these are the things that will be done over a particular time period," he said.

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