Archive for Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Voters reject bond issue proposal

$30 million proposal fails in all precincts

January 22, 2003

As the old political saying goes, the dollar votes twice as much as the man.

Apparently this was the case Tuesday, Jan. 21, as voters found the $30 million price tag of a proposed Basehor-Linwood School District bond issue too much to bear.

Voters rejected the idea, 997 or roughly 59 percent, to 695 or 41 percent.

Overall, 1,692 votes were cast, about 700 less than when the last bond issue passed in 1997.

The $30 million bond issue proposal would have funded the construction of a new middle school located on County Road 2, and the renovation of Basehor, Glenwood Ridge and Linwood elementary schools.

"Obviously we're disappointed and we're surprised," said Cal Cormack, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent. "I think the (School) Board put together a good package that addressed the issues at all levels."

But in a somewhat shaky economic climate, the cost of the proposal apparently had a negative effect on voters.

The owner of a $100,000 home would have paid an additional $172.16 in taxes a year if the bond was successful.

Tuesday, voters rejected the bond issue in all four school district voting precincts -- the city of Basehor, Basehor township, Glenwood and Fairmount townships, and the Linwood and Sherman townships.

Only on absentee ballots did the bond issue receive approval, 51 to 36.

Below is the per precinct breakdown:

  • City of Basehor, 243 no to 187 yes
  • Basehor township, 194 no to 114 yes
  • Glenwood/ Fairmount, 274 no to 215 yes
  • Linwood/ Sherman, 250 no to 128 yes

Historically in the school district, it takes less time to build the schools themselves than it does to procure the necessary funds from voters.

Four bond issues went before voters in the 1990s before voters approved the fifth bond issue, a $16.7 million proposal in 1997, which funded the construction of Glenwood Ridge and extensive renovations at Basehor-Linwood High School.

Before the vote, school officials said they were confident the current bond issue would pass on the first attempt.

They cited 18 months of research into planning the bond issue, the impending residential growth of the area and cost, which school officials felt was reasonable.

"The margin (of defeat) was surprising," Cormack said. "We just didn't get the 'yes' vote.

"It certainly seemed like the right package and the right time."

School officials said the next step would be to conduct a post-election assessment of the failed bond proposal.

"We'll talk with the community and find out why there wasn't the support," Cormack said.

A question asked often during bond issue public forums was, if the proposal failed, when would a new proposal be introduced?

The short answer Tuesday night seemed to be no time soon.

"It would be almost a full year before constructing another package," Cormack said. "That's why this seemed so attractive, we were getting more for our money."

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