LIBERAL, Kansas – For Liberal Schools, overcrowding has become a serious issue. A $127.3 million project is in the works to build new schools and offer more programs to the students.
About half of the project will be covered by the state, but the other half would come from an increase in property tax so the School Board proposed a half cent sales tax increase to help cover the cost.
“Why should only the 20,000 people that live here have the burden of the property tax?” asked Superintendent Paul Larkin. “Let’s have some of the people that pass through here help out with some of the project.”
In about four years the school system will have five new schools and will have significantly reduced overcrowding, but the School Board and others said while it will help the students and the school system, it will help the town as a whole.
“As far as the city is concerned this is a win-win for us,” said Mayor Dave Harrison. “We’re looking at it as a way to improve the community, plus economic development.”
Parent Troy Emery said he sees both sides of it too. “This isn’t just about young people growing up and getting an education,” he said. “This is about the entire community and how it affects commerce, trade, everything.”
With about 900 people turning out for early voting, City officials are confident that this special election has gotten a lot of attention and they’re optimistic that the town will vote yes.
If the sales tax goes through crews are expected to break ground in 2014.
Advanced voting ended at noon on Monday. Residents can vote from 7 am to 7 pm at the Liberal Event Center on Tuesday, April 8th.