Archive for Monday, January 14, 2013

School board formally sets bond election

January 14, 2013


The Lawrence school board took formal action Monday night to approve ballot language for the $92.5 million bond proposal that will appear on the April 2 ballot.

The question will ask voters in the district to approve a bond issue, "to construct additions to and renovate, improve technology infrastructure, equip and furnish existing elementary and secondary schools; construct, equip and furnish a new career and technology education facility and make all other necessary and related improvements in the District (the “Project”) at an estimated cost of $92,500,000."

District officials have been working for months with design consultants to outline the scope and cost of the projects. Most of the proposed bond issue — about $70.5 million — would be used to refurbish the district's 14 elementary schools, with particular focus on six older schools in central and east Lawrence: Cordley, Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney and Sunset Hill.

Board members and district officials are calling the proposal a "no tax increase bond" because it would not result in an increase in property taxes the district levies for its bond and interest fund.

Also during Monday's meeting, the school board received news that Lawrence was among the five school districts in Kansas named to the College Board's 2012 National Advanced Placement Honor Roll.

To qualify for the honor roll, districts must increase their participation rates and access to AP courses; ensure that participation does not decline among minority students; and increase the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher, out of a possible 5, on AP tests.

In 2012, 438 high school students in Lawrence took a combined 699 AP tests. Of those, 75.1 percent of the scores were 3 or higher.


Tony Holladay 5 years, 3 months ago

This year I will be voting NO! It's obvious from the miss spending from the last bond issue that they are asking for to much.

gr 5 years, 3 months ago

Just a liberal spin. They don't get, that if nothing was done, taxes would be lower than if they vote for the increase.

melott 5 years, 3 months ago

" and make all other necessary and related improvements in the District " a true blank check.

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

Yes. I have always voted for school bonds, but if they don't take this phrase out this time, I'm not voting for it.

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

True. I have never voted against a school bond before, but if they don't take out this phrase, I'm voting against this one.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully the LJW will do what ever it can to secure any documents as the the spending of the last bond monies and publish it. You know they are a bunch of liars when they say this is no cost to the taxpayer. The old bond sunsets, our taxes automatically go down, they secure this new bond and claim this is zero cost to us... jez....

It amazes me that the homes we live in last 50 years and this group of geniuses can't make a new school last 20. New leadership needs to be installed from top to bottom and a full accounting of expenditures need to be made public.

The bond issue is a blank check, the old bait and switch, and a pig in a poke. Voting for this blindly is freekin stupid. Wimpy used to tell Popeye... I'll pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

gr 5 years, 3 months ago

You might even find comments were made, this is only a slight increase and it will go away in a few years and we won't ask for anything else. It might even have been presented as some other fee was being eliminated so this was no "increase".

Does anyone hear between the lines that someone is just wanting another new school like they've done recently? 'Close schools to save money. We can save by building new ones.'

aryastark1984 5 years, 3 months ago

You do know that this is an entirely different school board than the one that was responsible for the last bond.

As for your second comment, the majority of the money that will be spent from this bond will be spent on schools that are >30 years old and were left to fall into disrepair by the last school board. Roofs leak, they need new plumbing, and they need to be updated. The youngest kids in the community deserve better. It is a sign of respect.

gr 5 years, 3 months ago

Sorry kids, but we chose to have a new library. Not that we needed one, but we would rather have a new library than a technology education facility, .... or new football uniforms....

We made the choice.

Library, not school.

Recreation facility, not school.

Jaime Baggett 5 years, 3 months ago

Have any of you nay sayers walked into an LPS school lately? I think not. We are not up to par with surrounding districts. We do not have the technology required to prepare our students with the real world, we hardly have any technology as it stands. And these buildings - geesh. They are old and they are not secure. I don't know why you people don't want better for our kids.

melott 5 years, 3 months ago

Mindspeaking, please don't misinterpret. I don't begrudge them the money for education. They have textbooks with covers falling off. They do have state-of-the-art football fields, 1 at each high school. One at least was built with $5 million worth of funds from a previous bond issue targeted on education. They have flat screen TVs to run the school announcements in the lunch room at LHS. They have a clause in this bond issue that lets them spend money on anything they like (see above). Based on experience, many of don't trust the management to spend the money at all wisely.

aryastark1984 5 years, 3 months ago

So if I read this correctly, we can never improve the elementary schools in the district because many people (including me) are still mad at what the school board did 6 (not sure about time) years ago? REALLY? We are going to penalize 5-11 year old kids for the actions of Scott Morgan and Mary Loveland?

Jaime Baggett 5 years, 3 months ago

Well I can't think of anything else that needs more attention than our technology needs and securing our buildings. There won't be money left once we are brought up to par this way and we are running safe and effective schools that are preparing our kids for their future. Believe me, now we are selling them short!

gr 5 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, you already voted to spend it on the Library. Enjoy.

Please address melott's comment on why money was spent on football fields, flat screen tvs, and other non-educational "uses". If you don't address this wanton waste and abuse of tax payer dollars, you are the reason you are selling the kids short!

been_there 5 years, 3 months ago

Is there anything in that bond proposal to increase funding for kids with learning disabilities? There are many that are denied services because there is not enough money. If not, don't expect my vote. By the way, there is technology out there to help kids with learning disabilities but I bet they won't be spending money on that.

aryastark1984 5 years, 3 months ago

School funding is complicated. What you are talking about, funding for educational programs, comes out of operating costs. Operating costs are funded by/limited by the folks in Topeka. Bond money can only be spent to fund capital outlay projects, to improve buildings and such. The money from this bond will be used to improve the physical structures and accessibility of the schools which will improve the lives of all of our kids.

Douglas Thompson 5 years, 3 months ago

It will pass, it always passes. The poor children are going to not be educated unless we pass this bond will win out as it always does.

It shouldn't pass. The district is not down to its last dollar and it needs to EARN the trust of the community by showing it can make wise financial decisions.

Just because the Board isn't the same as last time doesn't mean we should automatically give them a blank check. This board hasn't shown it can be fiscally responsible either.

There seems to be this belief that quality of buildings and the amount of technology equate to better education. Yet spending has grown for these things and the quality of education has dropped. Lets get back to basics. Children need reasonable schools not fancy schools. What they need is good teachers, parents that care, and a future nor burdened by debt. These things will not be addressed by this bond.

gr 5 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, and then there will be those saying that the "new" board is not the same as this board and so we need to pass yet another bond for a spending spree....

It's for the "children" you know. Those who want new schools, new football fields, new flat screen TVs.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.