It’s not November yet, but it’s still election time in Olathe.
A $156 million school bond issue is on the ballot, and the cut-off for mail-in votes is noon on June 7.
The election office has sent out 89,260 ballots. As of Friday morning, the office had received and processed 13,445 ballots, according to Debbie Tyrrel, deputy election commissioner.
Official results on the bond issue election will be available June 13, but the election office will have unofficial results on June 7. If passed, the bond issue would not raise property taxes because a previous bond issue has expired. The Olathe school board voted unanimously in March to put the bond issue before voters.
One of the major reasons for the bond is to increase capacity for Olathe’s middle schools. Just under a third of the money — $46 million — would relieve Prairie Trail and Mission Trail middle schools by providing the funds to buy land and build a new middle school.
Without the bond, district officials estimated that those schools would be several hundred students over their designed capacity in three years.
At Santa Fe Trail and Oregon Trail middle schools, the district wants to update heating and cooling systems, add new flooring and lighting and replace roofing.
School gyms will get new flooring. The district also intends to buy security cameras and new keyless access systems, as well as iPads for students, equipment for computer labs and new computer servers.
“The district continues to have needs as a result of being a growing district, and we appreciate the public casting a vote on the ballot this year,” said John Hutchison, chief financial and operations officer for the Olathe Public Schools. “The aging facilities (item) touches every building in the district, as do tech and safety security” elements on the bond issue.
If the bond issue passes, Hutchison said, the district will start work on these projects this summer.
This is the district’s first bond election since a $244.8 million bond issue passed in 2013. A portion of that money went toward building Olathe West High School, which the district plans to open next year.
Beth Lipoff: firstname.lastname@example.org