Archive for Wednesday, April 1, 2015

USD 458 bond issue supporters make final push

April 1, 2015

Though it has been stated many times, supporters of a $16 million bond issue for USD 458 want to make one thing clear: It will not raise property taxes.

The Vote Yes! For Basehor-Linwood Students Committee held its final community Town Hall meeting last week at the Linwood Library to discuss the school bond issue that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot.

Superintendent David Howard stressed that while this will be a new bond issuance to create funding for several proposed projects, the mill levy that property owners currently pay would not go up.

“Existing bonds will be refinanced, and 16-year bonds will be paid off in 15 years,” he said.

Howard discussed the four areas of focus where the bond money would be concentrated: safety and security, creating a technical and vocational training center at Basehor-Linwood High School, technology improvements throughout the district and renovations to existing facilities.

The safety and security project would include building a storm shelter at Basehor Elementary School, obtaining access control doors throughout the district and security cameras, plus secure entrance features for district buildings.

The proposed career and technical education center located at Basehor-Linwood High School would help provide training opportunities for students not planning to go to college, but still provide them with the skills to make a good living. Programs that would be offered include auto mechanics and CNA/CMA nursing programs.

Network hardware, wireless access and a centralized phone system all fall under the technology improvements umbrella.

As district facilities age, renovations and updates are required. Slated bond issue projects include paving the current gravel parking areas at Linwood Elementary School, energy efficiencies, sidewalk accessibility and safety improvements for the drop-off/pick-up lanes in front of schools.

“As our area continues to grow, these needs will not go away. Community feedback has been very positive supporting this bond issue,” Howard said.

A survey last year found that a majority of residents would support the four projects, but items like adding a swimming pool or tennis courts to BLHS did not rate high enough to justify the funding, so those items fell off the list of proposed projects.

“One of the biggest misconceptions about this bond proposal is what it is and what it is not,” said Howard. “The school board reviewed the survey results and listened to the feedback from the community to determine what projects would be pursued. This bond will not increase the mill levy.”

The Vote Yes! committee held its first Town Hall at the Basehor Community Library in February. The Linwood meeting brought out only about 10 members of the public.

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