A $36.76 million bond issue for the Leavenworth public schools will be put before the voters later this year.

A $36.76 million bond issue for the Leavenworth public schools will be put before the voters later this year.

Members of the Leavenworth Board of Education voted 4-2 during a special meeting Monday to advance the bond issue to a special election. Board members Nancy Klemp and Jose Morales voted against the motion. Board member Loyal Torkelson was absent. Morales also did not attend Monday's meeting, but he voted by phone.

The proposed bond issue would close Lawson Elementary School as an elementary school, and the building would be converted into an early education center for all of the district's prekindergarten and kindergarten classes.

The bond issue also would pay for an addition to Richard Warren Middle School, and the district's fifth-grade classes would be moved to that campus.

The bond issue also would pay for renovations at other school buildings.

The bond issue is intended to address overcrowding issues at Warren and Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

The election, which will utilize mail ballots, will take place in June. Voters will have a June 15 deadline for returning their ballots, according to Superintendent Mike Roth.

Two motions calling for the bond issue election failed to pass during a school board meeting last week. These earlier motions failed with 3-3 votes.

Board member John Goodman missed last week's meeting. But he was present for Monday's meeting.

He voted in favor of the bond issue election, supplying the fourth vote that was needed to pass the motion.

Board President Mike Carney said he called for Monday's special meeting because the full board had not been present last week.

"I think this whole scenario is too important to leave a vote at 3-3," he said.

He said the special meeting was scheduled for Monday, but school district officials will need to have paperwork turned in later this week in order to have an election in June.

Carney recalled when board members went through a self-evaluation process. They were asked why they wanted to serve on the board. He said reasons cited included safety and education of students and being responsible with money.

"I think this bond is going to address those things," he said.

He said the district is financially sound.

"We've made a lot of good decisions," he said.

Roth has argued the bond issue will not increase the school district's mill levy. The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

The superintendent said bonds from an earlier bond issue soon will be paid off, so the district will be able to issue new bonds without increasing the mill levy. Roth has said the district's mill levy may even decrease with a $36.76 million bond issue.

During Monday's meeting, Klemp explained why she did not support the bond issue.

Klemp said she is in favor of addressing overcrowding, but she does not agree with how money from the bond issue would be spent.

Klemp said she does not like the proposal for the addition at Warren Middle School and moving the fifth-grade classes to that campus. She said this would increase the enrollment at the school to 1,000 students.

Klemp proposed using the former West Intermediate School building to house fifth- and sixth-grade classes. The intermediate school was closed in 2014.

"I think we could take West and I think we could refurbish it," she said.

The Kansas City Kansas Community College currently leases the building from the district to provide technical programs and other courses. That lease is coming up for renewal.

"Our three-year contract is coming to an end," she said.

Klemp suggested an addition could be constructed at Leavenworth High School to house a new technical education center.

Klemp's recommendations regarding the former West Intermediate School building and a high school addition are not included in the bond issue that will be put before voters.

Klemp said regardless of what happens with the bond issue, board members should take a look at the lease with KCKCC.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR