Voters in Douglas County Unified School District 497, Kansas, will decide in April on a $92.5 million general obligation bond issue to upgrade the district’s 14 elementary schools and two high schools.

The bonds being sought at the April 2 election will not require a tax increase. It is the maximum the district can issue without exceeding the statutory limit on local school debt. Plans dedicate $71 million of the proceeds to improvements and expansions at the elementary schools, with most of the effort going to six older facilities. Modernization of the high schools is set at $4.5 million, with $5.7 million earmarked for technology acquisition.

A poll of district voters in early December found 55% backed the bond projects. Support surged to 75% if the bonds did not require a tax increase.

School trustee Rick Ingram said the bond campaign will focus on explaining the need for the school renovations.

“This is not a luxury,” Ingram said. “These are not only things that are needed, but are long, long overdue.

The district serves the city of Lawrence. The district’s $51.7 million of outstanding debt is rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.

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