January 30, 2012

Mulvane school district to vote on $13.4 million bond issue

Voters in Mulvane will decide in May on a $13.4 million bond issue to pay for school additions and improvements.

Voters in Mulvane will decide in May on a $13.4 million bond issue to pay for school additions and improvements.

“It’s really about the critical and safety needs of the students,” said Tom Keil, director of human resources and communication for Mulvane schools.

The Mulvane school board unanimously approved a resolution last week to schedule the special election May 8. Proposed improvements include:

•  New classrooms, a reception area and administration space at Munson Primary School, a building for pre-K through second-grade students. The bond also would upgrade mechanical systems and improve energy efficiency.
•  A new gymnasium and classrooms at Mulvane Grade School, which serves third- through fifth-grade students. Classrooms would serve as storm shelters, and the gym would be leased by the Mulvane Recreation Commission during non-school hours.
•  An all-weather field and eight-lane track at Mulvane Middle School. The bond also would pay for parking and bleacher improvements and locker room facilities.
•  An expansion and renovation work at the district’s transportation building.

The Mulvane district serves about 1,880 students. The proposed bond issue would raise the tax rate about 1.5 mills. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $17.25 a year.

Keil said district leaders hope to take advantage of low interest rates, estimated at 3.5 percent, and state aid that would pay 51 percent of the bond issue payments.

That state aid, based on district wealth per pupil, likely would decrease in coming years as the new Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane is added to the district’s tax base, Keil added. If voters approve the bond issue in May, he said, leaders could sell the bonds before that aid drops.

Mulvane voters soundly rejected a $40 million bond issue about two years ago, voting almost 2-to-1 against a measure that would have paid for a new primary school, classroom additions, storm shelters and a $6.2 million sports stadium.

At the time, bond supporters said uncertainty over whether the $314 million casino would be built may have affected voters’ confidence in Mulvane’s economy.

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