Frequently Asked Questions
On Tuesday, April 3, 2018, voters in the Liberty Public School District will be asked to consider a $49 million No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue. The proposal will call for the construction of additions to existing buildings in order to accommodate projections for continued growth.
If passed, the following building projects have been identified for completion:
- Early Childhood Center: Safety and Security Upgrades
- Franklin Elementary: Safety and Security Upgrades and Building Addition
- Heritage Middle School: Restroom Renovations
- Liberty High School: Construction of a Theater, Additional Fine Arts Space, Additional Parking, Heating and Cooling Replacement, Restroom Renovations, and Accessiblity Enhancements
- Liberty Middle School: Safety and Security Upgrades, Gymnasium Upgrades, and Accessibility Enhancements
- Liberty North High School: Safety and Security Upgrades, Additional Classroom Space, Additional Parking
- Manor Hill Elementary: Safety and Security Upgrades
- Lillian Schumacher Elementary: Safety and Security Upgrades
- District-Wide Innovative Learning Upgrades
- Land Acquisition for Future Projects
The Frequently Asked Questions document, provided below, is intended to serve as a resource to our District stakeholders in an effort to inform and educate prior to the April 3, 2018, election.
If you have any additional questions regarding the No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue, please contact LPS Director of Communications Dallas Ackerman.
Q: When is the election?
A: Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Q: What is the actual language that will be on the ballot?
A: "Shall Liberty Public School District No. 53, Clay County, Missouri borrow money in the amount of $49,000,000 and issue bonds for the payment thereof, which is expected to result in no increase in the District's debt service levy, for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, furnishing and equipping elementary and secondary school facilities, support service facilities and related sites to allow for safety and security enhancements, accessibility upgrades and educational improvements?
If this proposition is approved, the District's debt service levy is expected to remain unchanged at $1.3007 per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property."
Q: What is bond issue?
A: A bond is an authorization for a school district to go into debt and to establish a tax rate to pay off the debt over time. The bond pays for capital projects, such as facilities and equipment, and may not be used for regular operational costs like salaries or supplies.
Q: What is required to pass the bond issue?
A: A 4/7 majority, or 57.1% plus one vote is needed in order to pass a bond issue.
Q: What will the cost be for individual taxpayers if the issue is passed?
A: This bond issue requires no tax increase. Your property’s assessed valuation and your taxes from other local jurisdictions could affect your personal tax bill.
Q: How is it possible to issue bonds without a tax increase?
A: Thanks to good financial management by the district, LPS is now in a position to ask for a bond without raising taxes. This is a result of aggressively refinancing for better rates. Local commercial and residential growth has also helped by expanding the local tax base. Due to these factors, LPS now has the bonding capacity to take on additional debt with no tax increase. We will continue to carefully monitor our debt and interest rates in order to save taxpayer dollars.
Q: How much is Liberty Public Schools growing?
A: LPS has been considered one of the fastest-growing school district’s in the state over the course of the last 10-15 years. While our demographer states that the amount of growth is slowing down somewhat, we still will continue to see an increase in student enrollment from year-to-year for the foreseeable future. We also continue to be told by families that a big reason why they move to our district boundaries is because of our quality schools and opportunities provided to students.
Q: Did the District solicit community input when deciding to put forth a ballot measure to voters?
A: Yes. As part of the District’s Long-Range Planning process, a series of community meetings were held to solicit feedback on priorities. The district also received valuable input from staff surveys and meetings, along with our community committee, Vision 20/20. Additionally, several survey opportunities were provided that included a comprehensive phone survey conducted in November/December 2017 that the Board of Education reviewed, which provided valuable data to support the community’s appetite for a bond issue.
Q: Why are there no additional elementary schools being constructed as part of this no-tax-increase bond issue?
A: The recently completed demographer report presented in November, indicates that, while there continues to be growth in our student enrollment projections, we currently have enough existing space in our elementary schools to maintain the increases in student enrollments for the next several years. It is likely, however, that additional elementary classroom space would be needed as part of the District’s next no-tax-increase bond issue in the coming years.
Q: Would school boundaries change at any of the schools if the bond issue is successful?
A: No. LPS does not see boundary changes at any school for at least the next several years. Since we are a growing school district, and classroom space can quickly become a challenge, boundary adjustments cannot be ruled out at some point.
Q: When does LPS plan to ask taxpayers for another bond or levy?
A: The enrollment-based long-range facility plan includes a possible 12th elementary school and a possible third high school, if enrollment continues to grow at those levels projected. Since this is more than a decade away, we don't have a specific timeline of when a future bond issue would take place at this time.
Q: How does the quality of the schools affect property values and the local economy?
A: Realtors agree that a good school system attracts buyers to an area. Many home buyers ask about the school district before making a decision. Because the Liberty School District is highly rated and has a good reputation, property values are higher here. In addition, companies that are considering locations for new businesses insist on a good educational system for their children and their employee' children.Q: Could you clarify the "no-tax increase" language in the ballot language and the impact on property taxes should the bond be approved and the impact on property taxes should the bond fail?A: If the bond passes, the district will be able to complete the projects listed (total value: $49 million) without having to increase the district property tax levy. Should the bond fail, these projects will not be completed and the district levy will not be affected. Regardless of this bond issue, if by some rare and unanticipated occurrence the County significantly decreases the assessed valuation of properties within the school district, the district might be required to increase its debt service property tax levy to ensure that all financial obligations are satisfied in accordance with State law.Q: Why is Liberty North included in the bond - it was just built a few years ago?A: At the time Liberty North was planned in 2008-09, it was envisioned to be built in phases. The proposed academic wing addition included in this bond package would accomodate 500 additional students - bringing the building's capacity to 2,300 - 2,400, which is the current prefered high school capacity per the District Long Range Plan. In addition, the most recent demographer study predicts that the Liberty North attendance area will see fairly significant growth over the next 5-10 years and the new wing will accommodate this anticipated growth. Last, with this addition, the capacity of both Liberty High and Liberty North will be approximately 2,300 - 2,400.With respect to improving the secure entry for Liberty North, the district safety & security program has evolved over the past 10 years such that the current approach to managing visitors requires a defined and secured area of entry by which guests can be welcomed into a secure space and processed through the visitor management system before being released into the building. This approach is similar to the recent improvements to Liberty High School and is consistent with recent upgrades (and other planned upgrades per this bond package) to all other schools across the district.
Q: What else will be on the ballot on Tuesday, April 3, 2018?
A: In addition to the Liberty Public Schools no-tax-increase bond issue, the City of Liberty, Missouri plans to ask voters who live in the city limits of Liberty, MO to consider a use tax increase for purchases made outside of Missouri. There will also be a Liberty School Board of Education election in which two seats will be available.
Q: When must I be registered to vote in order to vote in the April 3 election?
A: Voters must be registered to vote by Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in order to vote on April 3. You can register to vote at the Clay County Board of Election Commissioners website or by clicking here.
Q: Where do I vote?
A: Your voter card that the Clay County Board of Elections sends you will provide you with this information. If you cannot find this card, don’t hesitate contacting the Clay County Board of Elections at 816-415-8683.
Paid for by the Liberty School District
Dr. Jeremy Tucker, Superintendent
8 Victory Lane
Liberty, MO 64068