One ballot question passes, other fails

Voters handed the Basehor-Linwood school district a split decision in a $57.1 million bond issue election.

The bond issue had been broken into two parts. Voters approved the first portion, which proposed new elementary schools and other facility improvements totaling $51.6 million. But they rejected the second portion, which proposed $5.5 million in improvements for athletic facilities.

The second ballot question was defeated by only a three-vote margin, according to the unofficial election results.

“I’ve never seen it that close,” said County Clerk Janet Klasinski, who is the county’s chief election officer.

Mail ballots were used for the special election. Ballots had to be returned by noon Thursday.

The vote tallies will remain unofficial until the results are certified Tuesday. The election will be certified by Leavenworth County commissioners, who will be acting as the Board of County Canvassers.

Voters in the Basehor-Linwood district approved the $51.6 million proposal, which was the first question on the ballot, with 2,591 “yes” votes and 1,784 “no” votes.

This approved portion of the bond issue will pay for the construction of two new elementary schools and an early childhood education center. The bond issue also will pay for additional classrooms and a performing arts center at Basehor-Linwood Middle School, security improvements to the main entrance to Glenwood Ridge Elementary School and renovations to other facilities.

The second question, which was the $5.5 million proposal, failed with 2,190 “no” votes and 2,187 “yes” votes.

The Basehor-Linwood Board of Education proposed this portion of the bond issue to pay for a multipurpose building at Basehor-Linwood High School that would have included classrooms, a wrestling room and locker rooms. This portion of the bond issue also would have paid for tennis court facilities and improvements to existing athletic facilities including renovations at the high school football field.

Basehor-Linwood Superintendent David Howard was at the County Clerk’s Office on Thursday as the votes were tabulated, and he was pleased the first ballot question was approved.

“We know we needed the main one,” he said.

Howard has said the Basehor-Linwood school district should be able to implement the bond issue without raising the district’s mill levy, which is used in determining property taxes. This is because of additional tax revenue the district is receiving as a result of increasing property valuation.

Howard said district officials will find ways to still address the issues that had been focused on in the second ballot question.

The County Clerk’s Office mailed more than 9,000 ballots to voters who live in the Basehor-Linwood area for the special election. Voters returned 4,393 ballots to be counted, which is a voter turnout of about 48.6 percent.

“This is a wonderful turnout,” Klasinski said.

Because the vote margin for the second ballot question was close, the Board of County Canvassers could decide to have a recount.

Klasinski said she will make a recommendation regarding a possible recount Tuesday. But the decision will be up to the Board of County Canvassers.

Klasinski said the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education also can request a recount. But the school district would be charged for expenses related to the recount.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR