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Archive for Tuesday, April 2, 2013

School bond issue sails to passage

April 2, 2013

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Smiles and applause fill the room as school bond issue supporters celebrate their victory shortly after the results were shown on the big screen of the Alton Ballroom at Pachamama's. Pictured from left are Nancy Hamilton, Adina Morse, Vanessa Sanburn with her three-month-old daughter, Amelia Lowen and Jennifer Osborn. Sanburn and Morse were the top two vote getters in the school board race, respectively. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Smiles and applause fill the room as school bond issue supporters celebrate their victory shortly after the results were shown on the big screen of the Alton Ballroom at Pachamama's. Pictured from left are Nancy Hamilton, Adina Morse, Vanessa Sanburn with her three-month-old daughter, Amelia Lowen and Jennifer Osborn. Sanburn and Morse were the top two vote getters in the school board race, respectively. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

The Lawrence school district's $92.5 million bond issue proposal passed easily Tuesday, with an overwhelming level of voter approval that surprised a few supporters.

"I thought we had a good shot, but I've been cautiously optimistic," superintendent Rick Doll said at an election watch party in downtown Lawrence as the results came in. "But we did plan, and I think people recognized that it was a good plan."

With 84 out of 86 precincts reporting Tuesday night, unofficial results showed the bond proposal sailing to passage, with 72 percent of the vote.

About $80 million of that money is earmarked for upgrades and renovations to the district's 14 elementary schools and two high schools. Most of that will focus on six older schools in central and east Lawrence: Cordley, Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney and Sunset Hill.

Another $6.5 million will go for upgrading technology throughout the district, while $5.7 million is earmarked for expanding career and technical education programs offered at the district's Holcom Center.

The bonds are not expected to increase taxes. Officials have said the bonds will be issued in phases over the next three years, at the same time the district retires old bonds, so that the new bonds will not result in an increase in the property tax levy for debt service payments.

"I think it's a statement about how much the people of Lawrence care about their schools and making sure that we're going to have first-class facilities so that our children can have the best learning opportunities available," said Kansas House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, who co-chaired the "Yes for Lawrence" committee that campaigned for the bond issue.

Despite the size of the bond issue, there was little organized opposition to it during the campaign. Meanwhile, all four candidates running for seats on the school board endorsed it, as did the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

School board candidate Kristie Adair said she was not surprised by the margin. "Everybody I've been talking to understands that we need to support our community, and the basis of any good community is its schools." Adair said.

Doll said district officials will begin work quickly to hire architects and a project manager to finalize the design and specifications for all of the projects, as well as setting a schedule for the projects.

Doll said construction projects at some of the elementary schools will be so extensive that those buildings may have to close temporarily, with students moved to other locations until the work is completed.

"We don't know yet, but that's a possibility," he said. "Where our buildings need significant remodeling, there will be portions of the buildings for sure where we'll have to get kids out. Now, whether that's in mobile units on site or off site, those are decisions we'll have to make later."

Doll said construction and remodeling at the six older schools is expected to take at least a year.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year ago

"Where our buildings need significant remodeling, there will be portions of the buildings for sure where we'll have to get kids out. Now, whether that's in mobile units on site or off site, those are decisions we'll have to make later."

Doll said construction and remodeling at the six older schools is expected to take at least a year."

East Heights Building would be useful....

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Richard Heckler 1 year ago

Capital Funds cannot be used for teacher pay..... state law.

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gr 1 year ago

"The bonds are not expected to increase taxes. "

WRONG! If the bonds weren't passed, the tax rate would be lower. But since they were passed, the tax rate will increase up to about their current rates. So yes, it does increase taxes. It just doesn't increase them back up to higher than what they are now.

Will this go to in-classroom education?

Will this go to teachers?

Nope. Sports and toys and board wants and wishes and dreams and anything and everything but education.

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Richard Heckler 1 year ago

Would you favor a sales tax increase or tapping an existing revenue stream to provide more $$$$ to Lawrence teacher salaries?

Teacher Salary Support http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2003/mar/teacher_salaries/

Of 5,198 voting 80% said yes. Remarkable ( of course we know this won't fly UNLESS the state legislature says yes)

BUT instead of shooting for a tax increase I say city government help out the school district.

Forward 10%-15% of the existing 1995 city sales tax money to the school district to provide teachers a raise. It is worth a shot but will not come easy. “Let the voter decide” This will leave 85%- 90% of the sales tax to the park department…. Not too shabby.

Of course dedicating 10%-15% of the existing 1995 city sales tax money to the school district to provide teachers pay increases is better use of the money than a $31million $$$ rec center.

BTW this special sales tax can be delegated to any need. It is NOT dedicated.

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William Ed 1 year ago

The voters will get what they deserve, as usual. Will the parents in Quail Run realize that because they couldn't find time to vote, their kids will be going to Sunset Hill, and the Langston Hughes parents may be surprised that because they couldn't make time to vote, their kids will get to cross Wakarusa Blvd. to attend Quail Run. When the teaching staff has to be reduced to provide the additional staff to manage the $92.5 Million in contracts, will they worry about all the empty brand new classrooms? Citizens are supposed to educate themselves and cast votes accordingly. I guess that didn't happen.

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ku4me2 1 year ago

As responsible voters we passed the bond. And now as responsible citizens we must make sure the district does there part without any deception or dishonesty. I am skeptical but hopeful that this board will keep everyone at the ESDC honest and if changes are made they are communicated as well as the bond information was. I would like an call from Ms. Boyle stating that instead of the new technology that was budgeted for in the bond, LHS will be getting new turf for the football field. USD 497 has the means to communicate, let's just hope they realize the faith the voters have placed in them.

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msezdsit 1 year ago

To bad Brownback doesn't get the message. Education is still the foundation of our society.

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rlsd 1 year ago

Lawrence residents must be getting out their money trees, sports complex, school bonds, and I am forgetting a few other major expenses when the residents (other than the ones who work out of Lawrence or are Administrators, Drs, etc.) rarely have decent paying jobs? Interesting......did anyone know the economy/housing is not doing well?

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