The April 2020 school and municipal election is now scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is covered by three election jurisdictions including Jackson County, Cass County and Kansas City.
Because growth is currently projected to increase in Lee’s Summit, the district does not anticipate at this time that we will need an operating levy increase. In fact, because of the Hancock Amendment, a part of the Missouri Constitution that controls the amount of money a district receives from increases in property tax assessments, the district lowered its operating tax rate this year by $0.55 last fall. That’s one of the largest rollbacks (and one of several) the district has approved in recent years.
How does the district plan on paying for the additional costs of the sixth grade transition, such as staffing?
The district plans to strategically budget for any additional staff needs in the years leading up to the 2022-23 school year. These important conversations about our staffing needs have already started, and will continue if the proposed bond issue is approved by voters.
While the potential $224 million no tax rate increase bond package is a significant amount, it leaves the district with bonding capacity for future projects. That means that LSR7 could continue to utilize bond issues to build projects, like the renovations for our oldest elementary schools not included in our current bond issue, without raising the debt service tax rate in the future. Assuming that growth in Lee’s Summit continues, the district anticipates that it can issue bond issues every five years without changing the tax rate. The district’s bonding capacity — even after a $224 million bond would be potentially approved — is due in part because of projected growth. And it’s also because the district has been a good financial steward, and refinanced outstanding bonds in the past to reduce interest payments.
If the bond election is not successful, funds for these projects will not be available.