Archive for Saturday, April 2, 2005

General election voter guide

April 2, 2005


On Tuesday, Douglas County voters will choose city commissioners and school board members, decide bond proposals for area schools and help determine whether the state's constitution should prohibit gay marriage. There are 66,990 registered voters in Douglas County, and about 1 percent already have cast advance ballots, said County Clerk Jamie Shew. He also said he expected a 40 to 50 percent turnout Tuesday at the polls, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Constitutional Amendment

Voters statewide will be asked whether to approve or reject a proposal that would amend Article 15 of the Kansas Constitution by adding a section, which reads as follows:

"(a) The marriage contract is to be considered in law as civil contract. Marriage shall be constituted by one man and one woman only. All other marriages are declared to be contrary to the public policy of this state and are void.

(b) No relationship other than a marriage shall be recognized by the state as entitling the parties to the rights or incidences of marriage."

A yes vote would be to amend the constitution. A no vote would be to reject the proposal.

Lawrence schools bond issues

Question 1: Allow $54 million for improvements at seven schools. The bulk of the money -- $31.9 million -- would build a new South Junior High School and improve Broken Arrow School.

If approved:

  • South Junior High and Broken Arrow schools: $31.9 million to remove and replace South and improve Broken Arrow, including asbestos removal, new special-education rooms and an art room. It also would finance construction of a cafeteria for each school and a shared kitchen, and it would eliminate portable classrooms.
  • Other junior highs: $16.7 million to add 35 classrooms and eliminate portables, modify or build gyms, and expand the Southwest Junior High School cafeteria.

  • High schools: $5.4 million to renovate locker rooms and science labs, build a new entrance to the east gym and add space for three science labs at Lawrence High School. The money also would finance labs for welding and other courses at Free State High School.

Question 2: Provide $8.9 million for technology, including hundreds of laptop computers. It also would allow wireless Internet access in all classrooms and offices.

If approved:

  • Technology: $8.9 million to expand computer networks and buy nearly 2,000 laptop computers and software. It also would allow wireless Internet access in all classrooms and offices in the district, about 800 rooms.

Wakarusa Township bond issue

Wakarusa Township's 1,565 registered voters are being asked to approve a bond issue that would increase township property taxes by up to 50 percent for four years, with the money to be used for converting many of the township's remaining gravel roads into hard surfaces.

The proposal would add up to six mills to the township's current 12-mill tax levy, or enough to cost the owner of a $200,000 home up to another $138 in property taxes. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of a property's assessed valuation.

The money would be used to put "chip-and-seal" surfaces atop the majority of the township's remaining 35 miles of gravel roads, said Ernie Butell, township trustee. The township's other 45 miles of roads already have such "hard-surface" treatments.

Wakarusa Township is the rural area that effectively surrounds the city of Lawrence on the southeast and northwest. It is bounded by the Kansas River, East 1000 Road, North 900 Road and East 1800 Road.

Key races in area elections

Baldwin school district: The two candidates for position 2 are David Norris, of Eudora, and Lonnie Broers, of Baldwin. Ruth C. Barkley and Chip Hornberger Jr., both of Baldwin, are the candidates for position 4. Jay Hundley and Ande J. Parks, both of Baldwin, are candidates in the position 6 race.

Key issues: The potential closing of rural schools; dealing with continuing growth; improving the pay for teachers.

City of Baldwin: Voters will choose Kenneth D. Hayes or Gary L. Walbridge for mayor. People will cast votes for one or two people running for City Council. Candidates are Doyle W. Jardon, Amy Cleavinger, John L. Frazier and Jason Mock.

Key issues: Dealing with continuing growth and development of the city and outlying areas; dealing with the rate structure for electric utility rates; revitalizing downtown.

Eudora school district: Voters will elect three board members. Candidates are Branden Boyd, Brenda Clark, Marion R. Johnson, Jim Martin and Bob Rice.

Key issues: Improving the pay for teachers; efficient use of budget dollars and keeping programs in place; improving technology in schools; keeping up with the growth of the district.

City of Eudora: Voters will select two representatives for City Council. Candidates are Lori C. Fritzel, Joseph L. Hurla, Timothy Reazin and William J. Whitten.

Key issues: Dealing with growth in and around the city; deciding on a new city manager; beautification of downtown.

Santa Fe Trail school district: Patrons will vote on three school board races with opposition in two of them. Franklin Rhodes and Brad Fischer, both of Overbrook, are the candidates for position 4. Clayton R. Lee and Carolyn Hug, both of Scranton, are the candidates for position 6.

Key issues: Efficient use of budget dollars and keeping programs in place; improving teacher pay.

Shawnee Heights school district: Voters will cast ballots in three races. The candidates for position 4 are Ann Dunn and Linda Hersh, both of Topeka. It's the only race with opposition.

Key issues: Providing teachers competitive pay; reviewing and consider changing district boundaries to deal with growth; possible bond issues.

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