The Lawrence school board heard Monday that an April bond issue would primarily support elementary schools, particularly in the east and central parts of the city, in addition to other educational needs.
Superintendent Rick Doll told board members that planning for the bond would likely continue through Jan. 1, with community outreach efforts beginning after that.
The board discussed a bond that would also support high schools, districtwide technology needs and the expansion of high school career and technical programs.
Doll said the district was working toward a “no-tax increase” bond issue, meaning the property tax rate would not increase because old debt would be retired as new debt would be added.
Board member Rick Ingram suggested that the district work toward a “tax-decrease” bond issue.
Those two and other board members discussed multiple ways to engage and educate the community about the district’s needs. Board member Mark Bradford suggested the district articulate its goals both to members of the community with children in school and to property owners who may not have children in school.
The board also selected Lawrence-based Gould Evans Architects to lead the district through the pre-bond planning process for the district.
In other business on Monday, the board:
• Approved a budget with a lower mill levy than previously approved. The board lowered the mill levy at the recommendation of Kathy Johnson, the district’s finance director, who said the district was now projecting additional revenue that was not included in the budget published in July.
The new budget lowered the district’s mill levy by 1.204 mills, to a rate that would mean the owner of a $100,000 house would pay $623.69 a year in school district property taxes. No one spoke at a public hearing on the budget.
• Approved a new teacher contract that included $1.6 million for teacher raises. The average total salary increase for teachers will be $1,780, or 4 percent, said Kyle Hayden, assistant superintendent for business and operations. The teachers’ union still needs to approve the contract before it becomes final.