In special election, voters approve school district bond issue projects in Eudora and deny similar measure in Baldwin City

photo by: USD 491

This concept image shows in red what one of the additions to Eudora's high school as part of the Eudora school district's bond issue could look like. Voters approved nearly $40 million in projects in a special election Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Story updated at 10:25 p.m. Tuesday, May 16:

According to unofficial results from the Douglas County Elections Office, voters seem to have overwhelmingly approved nearly $40 million in bond issue projects for Eudora’s schools, while a similar proposal in Baldwin City looks to have been rejected by a fair margin.

As of 9:25 p.m. Tuesday, results reported by the elections office show that the special question for Eudora had easily won approval with 971 of the 1,312 ballots accounted for — or about 74% — voting in favor of the measure.

That’s a wider margin than the last time Eudora voters approved a bond issue, in 2007, when about 55% of votes were in favor of its passage.

Eudora Superintendent Stu Moeckel spoke with the Journal-World over the phone Tuesday night after all of Eudora’s precincts had reported, and he said voters allowed the school district to make important improvements that would benefit students and teachers for “years to come.”

“I’m just so thrilled and excited for all the work of our staff and our volunteers that were able to make this a possibility, and just everyone who came out and voted today in the community,” Moeckel told the Journal-World. “These, oftentimes, are close races, and I think this shows the overwhelming support of the Eudora community as a whole.”

Meanwhile, it seemed that the $25 million in bond issue projects Baldwin City’s school district was looking to undertake would remain on hold for now. As of 9:25 p.m. Tuesday, 1,302 of the 2,360 ballots counted — about 55% — were “no” votes.

As the Journal-World reported, both districts’ bond issue proposals would have been used, in part, to add to their existing building spaces. In Eudora, the planned projects include adding classroom spaces at the elementary school, adding an auxiliary gymnasium at the high school and remodeling and upgrading eight classrooms at the district’s West Resource Center to support early childhood programs.

Beyond those, many of Eudora’s projects are meant to replace facilities and infrastructure that have reached their end of life.

Baldwin City’s list of proposed projects, meanwhile, included a large-scale renovation of the high school’s field and track — an element which drew some opposition from the Douglas County Republican Party — and a new career and technical education space.

One key difference between the two bond issue questions is that Baldwin City’s would have required increasing the district’s mill levy — or the tax rate applied to the assessed value of a property — while Eudora’s does not.

Once the Douglas County Clerk’s Office has canvassed and the results of Tuesday’s election are official, Moeckel said his district will be able to move forward with the next steps in getting bond projects rolling. He said that’ll likely start with meetings with construction and architecture firms, plus planning with teachers and administrators throughout the summer and fall. Getting that input will be crucial, he said, in terms of turning renderings and mockups into a reality.

Baldwin City Superintendent Mark Dodge spoke with the Journal-World over the phone Tuesday night and said district leaders plan to take a couple of days to process the results before determining what their next steps will be.

“While we’re disappointed in the outcome tonight, this isn’t going to change our mission, tomorrow and every day after that,” Dodge told the Journal-World. “Our teachers, our parents, we’ll continue their work to make sure Baldwin students have the educational foundation and resources they need to succeed.”


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.