Voters in Cheney overwhelmingly approved a multimillion dollar school bond Tuesday.
The votes were 550 yes, to 198 no, with about 34 percent of register voters casting a ballot, according to the Sedgwick County Election Office.
After 18 months of research, public input and discussion, board members in USD 268 decided to place the $15.4 million school bond on the ballot and up for a vote on June 10. The money would be used for safety and security enhancements, repairs on failing infrastructure, as well as upgrades to both academic and athletic facilities.
Some of the more important safety items, according to Cheney Superintendent David Grover, include the addition of a FEMA tornado shelter and an enhanced security system that limits visitor access to the school.
"A big piece of it is getting traffic where visitors have no choice but to come directly to the office and can go nowhere else," said Grover.
Another big ticket item the bond would help pay for would be a new air conditioning system for the high school and repairs to old buildings on all three campuses - elementary, middle and high school.
"Everything gets old, everything needs to be updated, it all needs to be done in a timely manner and we elect these officials on our board to decide what needs to be done," added longtime Cheney resident Jared Gregory.
If voters pass the bond that would also mean an increase in property taxes for those who live in the district. The owner of a $100,000 property would pay an additional $83 a year, or about seven dollars extra each month in property taxes.
The vote on the new bond comes as another set of bonds in the district begins to expire. Those were passed in 1994 and was used primarily for the construction of the high school. Grover hope that bond's expiration will help offset the increase in taxes for most property owners.
"We're trying to piggy back on the expiration of those bonds to make the tax impact as little as possible on the taxpayer," said Grover.
Voters have until 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night to cast their vote. Polling is taking place at Cheney Baptist Church.
We'll bring you the results of the election as soon as they are available.