USD 421 patrons to decide $12.38 million bond issue May 6

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Lyndon’s original elementary school would be razed to make room for a practice football field if voters approve a $12.38 million bond on May 6.

LYNDON­ – May 6 isn’t a regularly scheduled election day, but it is an important date for voters in USD 421 to remember. During a special election, patrons of the school district will decide that day whether to assume a 25-year, $12.38 million debt to build a new school.

The plan proposed by the USD 421 Board of Education would demolish the original elementary school and a wing of the middle school to construct a practice football field. The remainder of Lyndon Elementary-Middle School would be abandoned, except for its gymnasium and the current interactive learning classrooms. The plan would also demolish the original high school and replace it with a dome constructed practice basketball gymnasium that would also serve as a multi-purpose area and storm shelter.

Monday night, board of education members voted unanimously to authorize a resolution calling for the special election on May 6.

The resolution presents the following question to voters in the school district:

Shall the following be adopted?

  • Shall Unified School District No. 421, Osage County, Kansas (Lyndon) (the “District”), issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $12,380,000 to pay the costs to consolidate and improve the District’s K-12 campus, including (a) constructing, equipping and furnishing new classrooms, laboratory, greenhouse, kitchen, cafeteria and commons area additions adjacent to the existing high school classroom wing and gymnasium, (b) constructing, equipping and furnishing three monolithic domes, for use as elementary and middle school classrooms, all school library and art room, music classrooms, locker rooms, gymnasium and multi-purpose space with stage, and a storm shelter, (c) relocation of District administrative offices, elementary/middle school and high school offices, and elementary playground equipment (d) razing the original high school building and constructing a new parking lot, (e) razing the original elementary school building and west elementary addition and constructing a new football practice field, (f) closing a portion of 7th Street, and (g) making all other necessary improvements appurtenant thereto; all pursuant to the provisions of K.S.A. 10-101 et seq.; K.S.A. 25-2018(f); K.S.A. 72-6761; and K.S.A. 75-2315 et seq.?

During Monday’s school board meeting, USD 421 Superintendent Brian Spencer said the language in the question had been “tweaked” since the board’s special meeting held the week before. Spencer said the “auditorium terminology had been moved around,” noting the question now refers to “gymnasium and multi-purpose space with stage.”

Earlier in the facilities planning process, the board had proposed the multi-purpose room would serve as an auditorium, cafeteria and gymnasium, but later the board decided using the room for physical education classes and a cafeteria would cause scheduling conflicts. The board then proposed the current commons area would be enlarged into a cafeteria, with the primary purposes of one of three new domes to be a gymnasium, suitable for basketball practice and middle school games, and a storm shelter.

During two public meetings held Jan. 28 and 30, the board presented the projected tax increase of a 25-year, $12.38 million bond issue at 23 mills annually. For a $100,000 home, the property tax increase would amount to $22.04 per month, or $264.50 annually. The tax increase to commercial property valued at $100,000 would be $47.92 per month, or $575 annually. Increases for 160 acres of dry cropland would be about $231 a year, and for 160-acres of pastureland, $68.50.

The board had previously considered a 20-year bond, but now proposes extending it to 25 years to lessen the annual mill levy impact. During the Jan. 30 public meeting, the district’s bond advisor said adding five years to the bond would also add approximately $3 million to the final payoff cost.

Monday, Spencer told the board the next steps would be to enlist community members to form a committee to promote a “yes” vote for the bond issue.

“We need to generate some discussion and some enthusiasm out there and see who wants to help us move this on,” Spencer told board members. “We’ll see what sort of leadership we can get out of people other than just us.”

Spencer said he would speak to any interested local groups about the bond proposal, suggesting the local Lions Club, joking, “there’s about five of them”. Other suggested groups included the Masons, Lyndon Pride, Sideliners, Vassar Community Service Corporation, and the Osage County Tea Party.

Spencer said he would set up an “organizational meeting of some sort, for those who want to get behind it,” and then in a month or so set up community meetings “to go out and share the word.”

The motion to authorize the resolution to call the election was made by USD 421 Board Member Lynda Farwell and seconded by USD 421 Board Member Lori Sturdy. Other board members are Bob Knoernschild, Dave Brecheisen, Melissa Herdman and Lisa Baker.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas