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Blue Valley schools to seek bond increase by mail-in ballot

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Posted at 11:52 AM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 20:36:25-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Blue Valley School District will ask voters to approve a nearly $187 million bond later this month.

Mail ballots will be sent out this week for the bond, which the district said will "reinvest, reinforce and reimagine" the district for students.

If approved, Chief Communication Officer Kristi McNerlin said the funds will be used to pay for upgrades across the district, which include new door-safety locks that would allow classrooms to lock from the inside, among other safety upgrades.

"Currently, if you need to have some sort of a lockdown or there’s a threat in the building, we need the ability to quickly lock the door," McNerlin said. "The turn locks allow a teacher to not have to go outside to lock their door in the hallway where there could be danger. Instead the turn locks are on the interior."

The bond also would fund plumbing, HVAC, electrical and flooring upgrades and expand the district's career- and technical-education classes.

"We know that college might not always be the path for students, so we want to make sure that we have programs in place where kids are able to explore some of the other areas in middle school and high school," McNerlin said.

One of the school district's selling points is that the bond will not increase the mill levy for voters.

The district said the combination of home values in the district appreciating and a greater tax base for public financing will not require there to be a tax-rate increase.

The mill levy will remain at 62.803, but property owners who saw an increase in assessed value will wind up paying more money in taxes.

The district also announced interest savings from previous bonds. The board of education paid off more than $7 million of debt early in October 2019, which the district said saved taxpayers more than $600,000 in interest. By October 2020, the board plans to pay off another $31 million in debt early, which it said will save nearly $7 million in interest.

Parent Roscoe Black said he is on board.

"I am going to vote yes," Black said. "I appreciate the fact that they want to keep the schools as updated technology-wise and safety-wise as possible."