School district can’t build off-site streets, can be part of special assessment
Tonganoxie USD 464 has no authority to spend funds from any source to build roads that are not on school property, said longtime Kansas deputy commissioner of education Dale Dennis.
“In my opinion, the answer is no,” Dennis said Tuesday. “I know of no authority for school districts to build roads on somebody else’s property. Can you imagine the problems that could cause?”
The school district’s ability to participate in possible extensions of 14th and East streets necessitated with a successful USD 464 bond issue has become an issue as the Tonganoxie City Council discussed the needed improvements that could cost as much as $4.5 million.
Dennis clarified that although the district could not build a road on property it doesn’t own, it could do so on its property, such as the East Street extension through the current 80-acre middle school campus.
As for a road along a district’s frontage, such as a section of the possible 14th Street extension, that could only be done if the district owned the frontage property, Dennis said.
“If the frontage is owned by the city, the city has to do it,” he said.
However, the district could be part of a benefit district or special assessment created to pay for a street improvement, Dennis said.
“If the city chooses to assess them as part of a special assessment, that’s different,” he said.