On Oct. 15th, we will find out what happens when a fiscally responsible school district asks for a responsible needs-based bond issue.
Lakeview Community Schools is asking the patrons to vote on issuing $12 million in bonds for renovations and additions to the 50-year-old Junior/Senior High School. We have a long history at Lakeview of ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly. That was on display yet again in 2018-19 when the final expenditures came in with just a 1.0 percent increase compared to the year prior. That is not a new development at LCS since the average per year increase over the last eight years has been just 1.44 percent. This was the sixth time in nine years Lakeview’s yearly increase was less than 1.2 percent. We hear all the time in the news and from our state legislature about how K-12 public school districts don’t spend their tax dollars wisely. At Lakeview, a 1.44 percent per year increase over the last eight years while the student enrollment has increased over 30 percent seems to be the poster child for fiscal responsibility. And it is the increase in student enrollment from 640 to 890 that has created the need for Lakeview to expand.
Fiscal responsibility expected by the Lakeview patrons was kept at the forefront during the formation of this bond. Like all bond elections, there will be items on the list disagreed with, and on the flip side there will be items not on the list that people wish were included. We know that with the open lots for sale and the continually increasing population of Platte County that our district is poised to grow well into the future. But also know that our patrons expect us to only ask them for a bond if it is a need. And here we are -- in need of some additions and renovations to provide our students the facilities, access to education, and space they need to get a high-quality progressive education.
The bond issue would ensure our most at-risk students are provided additional space with improved special education and alternative education facilities. It would ensure our career education programs would have the ability to thrive with increased Industrial Technology and Agriculture Education space. The staff would be better taken care of by no longer having to share classrooms and office space. The congestion in our gyms that causes problems for our junior high programs, fine arts, and youth activities would improve with an additional option. We also know the need is there to finally fix the HVAC and electrical systems that are antiquated and hindering the educational environment.
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Lakeview patrons know the school district is responsible with taxpayer money, the county knows Lakeview only spends if necessary, and the state looks at Lakeview as a model for financial efficiency. We hope this long history of fiscal responsibility will help the bond issue be met with an understanding that it wouldn’t be in front of the patrons for a vote if it wasn’t a need for our most valuable asset: Our children!
For more information, please visit the district website at www.lakeview.esu7.org/bond.
Dr. Aaron Plas is the superintendent of Lakeview Community Schools.