School patrons asked to vote again on bonds
On April 1, Basehor-Linwood school district patrons will be asked again to approve a $29.9 million bond issue.
That is the same bond issue that voters in the school district defeated two weeks ago in a special election, by a 997-695 margin.
Basehor-Linwood officials released this information that they said was evidence of overcrowding in the district:
- At Basehor Elementary School the maximum student capacity is 411 students. The current enrollment is 391 students for a 95.1 percent usage of the facility.
- At Glenwood Ridge Elementary School the maximum student capacity is 306 students. Enrollment is 301 students equaling a 98.3 percent usage.
- The combined capacity at the middle/elementary school facility in Linwood is 500 students. The combined enrollment is 462 students resulting in a 92.4 percent usage.
Monday night, school board members unanimously voted to return the bond issue package to voters. Board president Kerry Mueller said that conversations she's had with community members have convinced her that a higher voter turnout would be beneficial to passage of the bond issue.
In a 1997 successful bond election for Basehor-Linwood, 700 more people went to the polls than voted in January.
"The consensus given to me is that voter turnout would be better in April," Mueller said.
On April 1, voters will head to the polls in school board and city council elections.
Mueller said she stands firmly behind the bond issue.
"This board has focused on providing a solution that focuses on education," she said. "This is curriculum driven, not facilities driven."
If voters would approve the bond issue, proceeds would pay for construction of a new Basehor-Linwood Middle School and renovations to Basehor, Glenwood Ridge and Linwood elementary schools.
School officials said the need for the new school construction stems from overcrowding problems at Basehor and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools, and at the Linwood facility, which houses elementary and middle school students.
A boom in residential development in Basehor, Linwood and rural Leavenworth County is causing the overcrowding, school officials said.
Before making its decision Monday night, the School Board met Thursday, Jan. 30 with members of the public to discuss adding the bond proposal to the April ballot.
Sandra Clarke, a bond issue opponent, said the proposal would place a burden on taxpayers in tough economic times.
"You can get so overzealous sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees," Clarke said.
" And I think your timing, frankly, sucks," Clarke added.
If the bond issue were approved, it would add $172.16 in taxes to the owner of a $100,000 home.
If the current bond issue is voted down in April, another bond vote could not be held until November. State laws preclude conducting more than one special election in a year.