By Matt Baird

Breaking Down the Details

The 2020 election year kicks off in April with a number of items to vote on. One ballot initiative that will have a major impact on Lee’s Summit will be a no-tax increase bond proposal from the Lee’s Summit R7 school district (LSR7). The outcome of this bond initiative will affect our children and the community for years to come.

With the continued growth in the district and aging facilities, the district is in a position where it needs to address and prepare for the future. Voters will have an  opportunity to play a major role in what direction the school district takes and how it will look in the coming years.

The no-tax increase bond proposal has seven major components to it. Each one has been listed with a brief description and the dollar amount associated with that improvement.

1. Safety and security | $3 million:
This budget item covers four crucial elements of making all of our schools safer: surveillance cameras, access control, keying and playground fencing.

2. Lee’s Summit High School | $80 million:
This item includes significant renovations and additions to LSHS, including improved security, a new modern face to the southern entrance facing Highway 50 and additions/renovations that centralize resources, create a well-connected campus and improve capacity.

3. New Middle School | $72 million.
This item includes significant site development on the land the district already owns for the project on the south side of Bailey Road. Tentatively, the district would aim to conclude construction for the 180,000 square foot middle school by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, when the Board approved decision to shift to a 6th through 8th grade middle school model would be implemented.

4. Renovations for three current middle schools | $25 million:
This item includes necessary renovations to equip our current middle schools to include sixth grade. The plan, different for each school, breaks down like this:

5. Mason Elementary | $16 million:
This item would increase capacity and modernize Mason through additions/ renovations that support a 4-section elementary school prototype, address the safety and instructional needs of students and maximize the use of existing
land and facilities.

6. Early Education Center at Prairie View Elementary | $9 million:
This item would utilize space at Prairie View created by the middle school transition and remodel the north side of Prairie View as an early education center.

7. High School Activities/Athletics | $19 million:
This includes turf replacement, track resurfacing and stadium improvements for all of our high schools. It also includes a new Lee’s Summit High School baseball/ softball complex at the site of the new fourth middle school to ensure parity of facilities with other LSR7 high schools.

The total Bond Package is $224 million.

While the potential $224 million no-tax increase bond package is a significant amount, it leaves the district with bond capacity for future projects.

The district’s bond capacity is in part because of projected growth, however, it’s also because the district has been a good financial steward by refinancing outstanding bonds in the past to reduce interest payments.

If the bond proposal is approved to be placed on the ballot, the Chamber’s Board of Directors will look to take a position on the ballot initiative at their February board meeting. It is imperative that voters educate themselves about the bond proposal and go vote on April 7. Questions about the no-tax increase bond initiative can be directed to Matt Baird, at 816.524.2424 or mbaird@lschamber.com.

Information courtesy of LSR7 School District.

 

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