2021 ISD Bond FAQ

Posted February 26, 2021

Q: What would the no tax increase bond issue pay for?

The $43 million bond would pay for safety and security improvements, fine arts and auditorium renovations and playground upgrades. The bond also includes facility maintenance and improvement projects throughout the District.

The bond includes significant investments in the safety and security of students and staff, ensuring that every school in the District has a vestibule with double door secure entrance.

Performing Arts is also a key component of the bond, as ISD middle and high schools would receive auditorium, choir, band and orchestra room renovations and improvements.

ISD elementary schools will receive playground equipment upgrades and all-weather surfacing. 

Facility maintenance and additional needed projects include classroom renovations, asphalt and concrete repairs, HVAC maintenance, roof repairs, window replacement and field and parking lot lighting. Classroom renovations will include science classrooms at Bridger and Nowlin Middle Schools, FACS classrooms at ISD high schools and an Industrial Arts classroom renovation at Truman High School.

Bond projects include tennis courts and a softball field at Truman and William Chrisman and stadium seating at Van Horn High School. The bond will pay for a track at Nowlin Middle School and grass football field. This will allow student-athletes to practice and compete on their home campus. 

Other bond projects include a lunchroom expansion at Van Horn High School, lunchroom renovation at Three Trails Elementary and parking lot expansion at Luff Elementary.

Q: How did the district decide on the proposed projects?

The bond projects have been identified by patrons, parents, students, teachers and community members through our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) process. The CSIP committee has identified more than $100 million in improvements. The projects outlined in this $43 million bond, allow this to remain a no tax increase bond.

Q: What would the timeline be for the proposed projects?

The project completion dates are approximate as weather and building conditions play a role. The majority of projects would be completed in the summers of 2021 and 2022 with all projects completed by the summer of 2023.

Q: What will the cost be for taxpayers?

This bond issue requires no tax increase.

Q: How can a bond be issued without a tax increase?

Thanks to the fiscal responsibility of the Independence School District, we are able to run this bond issue without raising taxes. The ISD has saved taxpayers more than $11.6 million since 2011 by refinancing. The district has refinanced bonds at every opportunity and aggressively paid down existing debt so an increase in taxes is not needed to issue bonds for the projects. Thanks to the district’s conservative budgeting and dropping interest rates, we have enough room in our debt service levy to issue bonds to cover the cost of the bond projects with no tax increase. 

Q: When is the election?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. 

Q: What is a bond issue?

A bond proposal asks voters to approve the sale of bonds to provide funds for building improvements, construction, and equipment purchases. Bond funds may not be used for operational costs such as salaries and supplies. 

Q: What is required to pass the bond issue?

In order for the bond issue to pass, a 4/7 majority must be reached or 57.1 percent plus one vote.

Q: What will happen if voters do not approve the no tax increase bond issue?

If the no tax increase bond issue is not approved, the outlined projects will not be completed and taxes will not decrease.

Q: Will every school entrance be remodeled by the bond?

ISD schools that do not currently have a double door secure entrance will have their entrances remodeled to enhance security. Those schools include Bridger Middle School, Blackburn Elementary School, Bryant Elementary School, Christian Ott Elementary School, Glendale Elementary School, Hanthorn Early Education Center, Independence Academy, Mill Creek Elementary School, Procter Elementary School, Randall Elementary School, Santa Fe Trail Elementary School, Spring Branch Elementary School, Sugar Creek Elementary School, Sycamore Hills Elementary School and William Southern Elementary School.

Q: Who can vote in this bond proposal election?

Residents of the Independence School District who are 18 years of age or older, and are registered to vote by March 10, 2021.

Q: Where can I get information about voting (such as how to register, where to vote, and absentee voting)?

You can find important information, including registration deadlines, sample ballots and polling locations at https://jcebmo.org/.

Q: Do I need to update my voter registration?

You need to update your voter registration if you have changed your name or address since the last time you voted. You can find instructions on updating your voter registration here: https://jcebmo.org/voter-information/registration/

Q: What is the ballot language?

The School District of the City of Independence, Missouri – April 2021 Sample Ballot Question 

Question #1 (Bond Question)

Shall The School District of the City of Independence, Missouri issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of $43,000,000, for the purpose of constructing, improving, renovating, furnishing and equipping school facilities, including:

·         safety and security improvements at all school buildings

·         fine arts and auditorium renovations at Truman High School, Van Horn High School and William Chrisman High School

·         playground upgrades at elementary schools

·         facility maintenance and improvement projects throughout the District

Approval of this question is expected to result in zero increase of the District’s debt service tax levy of $1.2145 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Q: Can I vote absentee?

Registered Missourians who expect to be prevented from going to their polling place on Election Day may vote absentee beginning six weeks prior to an election.

Absentee voters must provide one of the following reasons for voting absentee:

  1. Absence on Election Day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote;
  2. Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability;
  3. Religious belief or practice;
  4. Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than such voter’s polling place;
  5. Incarceration, provided all qualifications for voting are retained.
  6. Certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.660 to 589.681 because of safety concerns.

Voters can request absentee ballots from their local election authority in person, by mail, by fax or by e-mail. Relatives within the second degree (spouse, parents and children) may complete an absentee ballot application, in person, on behalf of the voter who wishes to vote absentee. DO NOT SEND ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE. ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS MUST BE SENT TO THE APPROPRIATE LOCAL ELECTION AUTHORITY BY THE DEADLINE IN ORDER TO BE VALID. Contact information for local election authorities and an absentee ballot application form may be found at the links below.

Mail in or faxed absentee ballot requests must be received by the election authority no later than the 5:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday prior to any election. Voters can vote by absentee in the office of the local election authority until 5:00 p.m. the night before the election.

Voters requesting an absentee ballot by mail who have registered by mail and have not voted in person are required to submit a copy of their personal identification unless they provided a copy with their registration application. Examples of acceptable identification are:

  1. Identification issued by the state of Missouri, an agency of the state, or a local election authority of the state;
  2. Identification issued by the United States government or agency thereof;
  3. Identification issued by an institution of higher education, including a university, college, vocational and technical school, located within the state of Missouri;
  4. A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that contains the name and address of the voter; or
  5. Other identification approved by the secretary of state under rules promulgated pursuant to Missouri law.

This identification requirement, as well as the notary requirement for absentee ballots, does not apply to overseas voters, those on active military duty or members of their immediate family living with them or voters who are permanently disabled and their caregivers.

Additional information for military and overseas voters may be found at the section entitled Military and Overseas Voters.

If you have a question that was not answered above regarding this 2021 bond proposal, please email your question to isdschoolspr@isdschools.org.