Do you currently have students attending Liberal Public School district?
Yes — 57.4 percent
No — 42.6 percent
Are you aware that the Liberal Public School District has a bond election occurring on April 8?
Yes — 80.9 percent
No — 19.1 percent
Do you intend to vote in this election?
Yes — 78.0 percent
No — 22.0 percent
If the Liberal School Bond Election were held today, how would you vote?
Yes — 44.6 percent
No — 20.3 percent
Undecided — 35.1 percent
Total respondents — 345
Total calls — 4,422
Margin of error — 5.4 percent
L&T staff report
A survey conducted by Precision Polling in Liberal Sunday provided an early glimpse into the upcoming school bond election, and the results were encouraging to those seeking the upgrades.
When registered voters were asked if they supported the bond, 44.6 percent responded yes, 20.3 percent said no, and 35.1 percent were undecided.
The positive response was twice as high as the negative, and that was welcome news to the Citizens for Responsible Growth, a grassroots committee that has been meeting with the public to discuss the benefits of the proposal.
“We are cautiously optimistic with these results,” the group stated in a release. “A common rule of thumb is 20 percent are opposed to anything. We are excited that most everyone else is either ready to support this responsible plan for growth or is at least still willing to listen.”
When examining English-only voters, the support was even higher. Of those responding in English, 50.6 percent were in favor, 20.7 opposed and 28.9 percent undecided.
“The message of receiving $91 million from sources other than property taxes seems to be resonating with the voters,” CFRG stated. “By keeping the property tax down to only $36 million over 25 years has shown the community that this is not an over-the-top plan. It is a common-sense solution that will protect the taxpayers from higher costs by paying for 100 percent of future upgrades without state or sales tax support.”
Support was well above the poll’s 5.6 percent margin of error.
The proposal includes building five new schools including three K-5 elementary schools and two 6-8 middle schools. It also includes upgrades at Liberal High School to accommodate the annexation of the current West Middle School building to create an LHS campus.
The total upgrades cost $127.8 million. But with state aid paying $63.5 million and a half-cent sales tax picking up another $28.1 million, that only left $36.2 million for property taxes, or 29 percent of the total cost.
Spanish-language voters had a higher percentage of undecideds, 49.5 percent to 28.9 percent for English.
The poll also reflected that most of the community has been made aware of the upcoming election. Of those polled, 80.9 percent were aware of the bond election, and 78 percent of the registered voters polled planned on voting.
“This is a key issue for our community, and the poll data indicates that the voters agree,” CFRG said. “Still, there are many who are still wanting more information before casting their vote, and we will try to provide it so they can choose whether or not to accept the financial aid from the state and sales tax, or whether they want to try to pay for all future upgrades on their own. That would be a risky and potentially costly plan for those on fixed incomes. Inflation will only cause the price tag to go higher. By supporting the bond, they can lock in today’s low interest rates and receive 71 percent support from other sources.”
Advanced voting begins Saturday at the Seward County Administration Building.
The election will take place at the Seward County Activity Center April 8.
The poll was paid for by CFRG.
For the issue to pass, voters must approve both the bond and the sales tax to help pay for a portion of the costs. By approving the bond, the district will receive the state aid.