Although much funding uncertainty remains at the state level, Lawrence public schools got something to cheer about this week when voters overwhelmingly approved two bond issues for capital improvements and technology upgrades.
A $54 million bond issue will fund the replacement of South Junior High school along with improvements at the city's other junior highs and both high schools. The $8.9 million in technology funding will expand computer networks and buy nearly 2,000 laptop computers for local schools. Both bond issues were supported by a strong majority of local voters on Tuesday: 68 percent voted for the construction bonds and 72 percent for the technology funds.
Although there was no organized opposition to the bond questions, some proponents of the proposal admitted they were nervous going into the election because the issues hadn't triggered as much vocal support or even discussion as they might have liked. There were fears that uncertainty about state funding or rising tax rates might hurt the issues' chances.
The message sent once again by local voters is that Lawrence values and supports its public schools. Taxpayers want their money to be used judiciously, but they are willing to invest in a K-12 school system that will be a credit to a university community and continue to attract residents and businesses to Lawrence.