USD 231 voters approved a $72 million bond issue on Tuesday. More than 5,000 voters returned ballots in the mail-in election. The Johnson County Election Office sent 12,883 ballots to all of the registered voters in the school district.
With 5,219 ballots counted, approximately 53 percent, or 2,795 people, cast votes to approve the bond issue. Approximately 46 percent, or 2,424 people, cast “no” votes.
With the passage of the bond issue, school officials will begin plans to build a new middle school and elementary school near the center of town just east of Center Street and south of Main Street.
The bond issue assumes the student population in Gardner Edgerton schools will grow at 6 percent over the next several years.
In addition to two new schools, the bond issue includes funding for new turf on the Gardner Edgerton High School football field, a new gymnasium and locker rooms at GEHS, renovations at Gardner and Sunflower Elementaries, and replacing technology including lap tops and audio-visual equipment district wide.
School officials promise not raise school taxes for at least the next two years, however Gardner city fees and taxes will likely increase. City council members agreed to partially fund sewer upgrades related to the new schools. Council members did not budget for the expenditure.
— Danedri Thompson