Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Bond issue fails at the polls — again

April 2, 2003

It's 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and results from the advanced ballots of the Basehor-Linwood School District bond issue just made way into the district office.

The crowd gathered at the office listens to the advanced ballot results -- 199 in favor and 72 against -- and is encouraged they might push through the $29.9 million school construction bill.

Unfortunately, those advanced ballots would be the last encouraging sign for the pro-bond issue crowd. As the night wore on and tension mounted, voter returns made it painfully obvious the bond issue wouldn't pass.

For the second time in four months, Basehor-Linwood voters rejected the bond issue, 1,618, or 59.99 percent, to 1,079, or 40 percent.

A per precinct breakdown shows the ¢ Advanced ballots, 72 against to 199 in favor

Overall, 2,697 ballots were cast Tuesday, or 40 percent of the 6,600 registered school district voters.

The new construction would have funded a new Basehor-Linwood Middle School, and renovations to Basehor, Linwood and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools.

The same package was placed before voters during a special election Jan. 25 and failed 997 to 695, or 59 percent to 40 percent.

School officials hoped for a higher turnout for this election and got their wish. More than 1,000 additional voters made it to the polls Tuesday than during the special election.

Under Kansas law, another bond issue cannot be brought before the public until Jan. 2004.

In a somber concession speech that evening, School District superintendent Cal Cormack praised the bond issue campaign committee for their work and stood by the decision to bring the new school construction bill back before voters.

"I am absolutely convinced your board of education made the right decision," Cormack said. "The fact is we didn't have any choices. There was too much at stake not to.

"I want you all to know I'm really proud of this campaign," he added. "This was a campaign we can all be proud of."

A key issue in bringing the bond issue back so quickly after it failed in January was proposed House Bill 2058 under consideration from the Kansas Legislature.

The bill would eliminate the state's participation, roughly 34 percent, for new school construction. If the bond issue was approved, the state would have paid $10.1 million of the school construction cost.

"It's going to happen," Cormack said. "The bad news is it's going to cost you more when it does happen."

"It's a process," he added. "This is just the beginning. It's not the end."

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