Voters in Shawnee County Unified School District 345, Kan. will decide Tuesday on a $42.5 million general obligation bond referendum for the fast-grow Topeka district.

Enrollment has grown to almost 4,000 students from 3,500 in 2002.

Passage of the bonds would require a tax increase of less than 1 mill. Approval would raise the property tax on a $150,000 home in the district by $18 a year.

Proceeds would fund conversation of the district’s existing middle school into an elementary campus and build a new middle school.

Voters approved $14.3 million of school bonds in 2006.

The district will be eligible for another $15 million in state aid to fund its overall $57.5 million upgrade effort.

The district’s bond election had been expected in 2016, but trustees shortened the schedule because the state’s current bond support program may be eliminated by the 2013 Legislature.

If voters approve the tax increase, the bonds would not be issued until the expansion project begins in 2016, district officials said.

Shawnee County Unified School District 345’s $13 million of outstanding GO debt is rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.

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