Archive for Thursday, November 8, 2007

Recount confirms approval of bond issue

November 8, 2007

Lara Hastings

lhastings@theworldco.info

Growth is officially in the future for the Basehor-Linwood school district.

A recount of the narrowly passed $39.9 million bond issue revealed a slightly different tally, but yielded the same outcome.

According to Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer, it took two election boards about three hours to count the more than 4,000 ballots by hand Thursday morning. The Leavenworth County Board of Canvassers met immediately after the count to confirm the results: 2,210 votes in favor and 2,175 votes opposed.

The $500 recount was paid for by district patron Dave Jons after canvassers on Oct. 29 certified that the bond had passed by a 29-vote margin: 2,209-2,180.

Jons said his major concern with the bond issue was the amount of debt it would produce, and he decided to request the recount because of the close race combined with the optical scan machine's margin of error.

"I wanted to make sure with the closeness of that race," he said. "There was a possibility that it could have been off by as many as 20 votes. If you look at it now, we lost five votes and nobody can say whether the machine over counted or the hand count under counted."

While the outcome was not what Jons had hoped, he said the purpose was to make sure the outcome was correct.

"I was ambivalent," he said about the results of the recount. "I wasn't happy. I wasn't sad. Dr. (Bob) Albers was there (at the courthouse), and I shook his hand and congratulated him."

District officials were concerned, but optimistic about the recount.

"We were confident going in that it would be nearly the same and we're happy about the way it turned out," said Albers, the district's superintendent.

The $39.9 million bond will help build a new centralized sixth- through eighth-grade middle school at a cost of $24.8 million; an $11.45 million third- through fifth- grade elementary school southeast of 155th Street and Hickory Street; a six classroom addition and renovations to Glenwood Ridge Elementary School costing $2.5 million; renovations to Linwood Elementary School for $750,000 and a new $400,000 soccer field.

Albers said committee planning meetings would begin shortly for each of the projects. The focus will be on the soccer field first, with construction set to begin in spring 2008.

"We will call a group of individuals together who are interested in the soccer field," Albers said. "We want to make sure the layout and design are what we want."

The group will consist of different coaches, school board members, parents and maintenance staff members. Completion of the soccer field is set for June 2008.

"We need to move quickly so it can get into the condition it needs to be in to be played on next fall," Albers said.

The rest of the projects will follow with the improvements to LES set to begin in late spring 2008 with completion in August 2008; GRES addition and renovations beginning in late spring 2008 and completed in December 2008; construction on the new elementary school beginning in summer 2008 with completion in August 2009 and construction on the new middle school set to begin in fall 2008 with completion in July 2010.

The project timeline and building renderings can be viewed on the district Web site, usd458.org.

"We're excited to get started and feel like this is going to change the looks of the district for many years," Albers said.

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