Archive for Wednesday, July 31, 2002

School District readies for bond issue campaign

July 31, 2002

Basehor-Linwood School District officials are preparing to launch a campaign promoting its upcoming school bond issue.
And they're asking district patrons for help.
"It has to be members of the community that speak to that bond issue," said John McArthur, Basehor-Linwood School District financial advisor.
"Typically when a school district has a bond issue they have a hard working citizen committee to help get the word out," Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent Cal Cormack said.
Board members met with the public and discussed the proposed bond issue during a workshop Monday, July 29.
Last week, school officials presented a bond issue plan to the public. The board identified four areas that the bond issue would finance construction of a new middle school, the expansion of Basehor and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools and the renovation of Linwood Elementary School.
School officials said four classrooms would be added to the east side of BES and eight new classrooms would be added to GRE.
It has not yet been determined where the new middle school would be located. School officials are currently looking for land acquisitions.
The new middle school could house three grades, sixth, seventh and eighth, if school board members approve the reconfiguration of grades. The board is scheduled to make a decision on the grade configuration in coming weeks.
If the bond issue receives approval, LES would take over the space that's currently used for Basehor-Linwood Middle School. The school would be renovated with the switch.
"Not as extensively as it was last time but there would be same renovation," said Don Swartz, Basehor-Linwood School District director of building operations.
The board is scheduled to discuss the bond issue again during its next meeting Aug. 12. The board will be asking for campaign volunteers during the meeting.
"I'd love to see this room full of people that are interested," school board member Don Kleopold said.
School officials said they hope to have 60 to 70 campaign volunteers to help move the bond issue forward.
An exact cost for the new school and renovation construction has not yet been determined. However, school officials have said it would cost between $20 and $25 million.
Cormack said an exact figure would be known when design plans are completed. The school board has not yet given the green light to begin those plans, he said.
McArthur, a senior vice president at Fahnestock and Company, said now would be the most opportune time for voters to approve a bond issue.
If the bond issue is approved, the state would pay for approximately 34 percent of the construction cost. But possible legislation in the future could change that, McArthur said.
He said a bill during last year's Kansas Legislature sessions proposed to cut bond issue funding across the board. The bill failed, but it could come back next year, he said.
"I firmly believe it's going to come back in the 2003 legislative session," McArthur said.
If the Legislature approves the bill, the financial burden the state once paid for would be shifted to the taxpayer, he said.
McArthur also said he expects the Basehor-Linwood School District would need more bond issues in the future if growth trends continue in Basehor.
"This will not be the last time your district asks for funds," McArthur said. "(This area) is a real gem. You're close to Kansas City. It's an easy drive and you have great schools."
An election date for the bond issue has not yet been set. Board members and school officials discussed possible election dates in January and April.

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