The Shawnee Mission School District is looking to the future with facilities from the past. More than 60 percent of the district’s buildings were constructed at least 30 years ago, and some are much older.
For that reason, and because of the districts’ efforts to operate efficiently, voters should say YES to a request to issue $223 million worth of bonds over 20 years for capital improvements.
Voting is being conducted through mail-in ballots. They were mailed this week and are due at the Johnson County Elections Office Jan. 27.
Shawnee Mission’s last bond issue was approved in 2004. Payments on the new request would essentially replace the debt obligation from the previous bonds, meaning the district does not anticipate an increase in property taxes if voters approve the request.
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About 40 percent of the bond proceeds would be used to raze and rebuild up to five new elementary schools and upgrade five existing elementary buildings to allow for full-service cafeterias and space for early childhood education.
The second largest chunk, 23 percent, would be used for building maintenance. About 11 percent would be spent on upgrades at middle schools and high schools and about 9 percent would be used for security features.
The remaining amount, about 12 percent, would be used to renovate the school district stadium at Shawnee Mission South High School and construct an adjacent aquatics and wellness center. The center will be used for swimming competitions, swimming lessons for elementary students and employee wellness programs.
Shawnee Mission has been one of the region’s strongest districts. Voters should grant the approval needed so that students can learn in buildings that are up-to-date and safe.