L&T staff report
The Liberal Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has issued a statement of support for the expansion of Liberal’s school district.
A bond proposal will be decided April 8, and what is at stake is whether or not the voters will accept a plan to replace aging schools and use $91 million of state matching funds and sales tax revenues to go along with $36 million from property owners to fund the upgrades.
The bond proposal was designed by community members, educators and business leaders in an effort to address the overcrowding as well as the age of the elementary and middle school buildings.
“Because Liberal’s future is dependent on our educational system, the Board of Directors of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce supports the expansion of the district, encourages our citizens to educate themselves by getting the correct information in order to make an educated decision when voting on the USD No. 480 bond issue, (and) encourages all citizens to register to vote by March 18 and vote on April 8, or take advantage of early voting March 29 - April 7,” the Chamber’s release stated.
The proposal would replace seven kindergarten-through third-grade elementary schools and two seventh- through eighth-grade middle school facilities with five kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary schools and two sixth through eighth middle schools. Three of the elementary schools would be new buildings and the two intermediates in Liberal, Sunflower and Cottonwood would be converted to K-5 facilities. South and West would be replaced with two new middle school facilities, and the current West facility would be used as part of the Liberal High School campus to relieve overcrowding there.
The older facilities will be repurposed to serve other needs in the district, many of which are currently taking place in portable buildings.
The bond election will take place April 8. Registration deadline is March 18, and advance voting will begin March 29 at the Seward County Clerk’s office.
The Chamber’s support joins the endorsements from Seward County Chairman Ada Linenbroker, National Beef’s Pat Pridie, Northeast Liberal Leadership, Bright Futures, former Liberal City Commissioner and Mayor Jack Cooley, Wheatridge Park Care Center Administrator Lindsay Durler and Kids Inc.