Projects come in under bond cap limit

The Kansas State Board of Education received nine proposals for school bond projects by a July 1 deadline. While the overall projects submitted totaled $365 million in construction costs, Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said the amounts that were subject to the state’s two-year-old “bond cap” law came in at $24 million under this year’s statutory limit of roughly $358 million. That “room” under the cap suggests the Board should be able to approve all nine bond requests provided they comply with other statutory guidelines.

The nine school districts submitting proposals by July 1 were:

Oxford USD 358: total request: $6 million;

Remington USD 206, total request $9.975 million;

Inman USD 448, total request $8.68 million;

Manhattan-Ogden USD 383, total request $129.5 million;

Cherryvale USD 447, total request $12.715 million;

Basehor-Linwood USD 458, total request $57.1 million;

Coffeyville USD 445, total request $25.8 million;

Spring Hill USD 230, total request $72 million;

Turner USD 202, total request $44 million.

Dennis said the projects submitted include new facilities to respond to growing enrollment, expansion of existing schools, and security and energy conservation improvements.

The Kansas Legislature in 2016 enacted as part of its school finance bill a provision that required districts to submit bond requests to the State Board by July 1 each year and capped the amount of state aid disbursed for school district bond projects at the amount of bond and interest debt retired in the previous year. The law has been amended to adjust for inflation and to exempt the first $175 million of any individual potential bond issue from the cap, but school leaders continue to be concerned that the cap will hamper district efforts to improve or expand their buildings and facilities. KASB’s legislative policy calls for repeal of the bond cap.

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