School bond and tax elections in Kansas

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School bond and tax elections in Kansas happen under two circumstances:
  • To issue new bonding
  • To exceed the capital outlay mill rate.

Laws affecting school finance

Capital outlay tax levies

School boards can levy taxes at a mill rate not exceeding the statutorily prescribed mill rate for a period not to exceed five years. However, a petition may be filed by electors in the district on the question of whether the tax should be levied.[1]

In Kansas, capital outlay funds can be used for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, repair, remodeling and additions of school district facilities as well as for architectural expenses, acquisition of building sites, asbestos control projects, school buses, and other necessary equipment.[2]

Kansas Bond issue law

In Kansas, school districts are allowed to issue bonding to purchase or improve land, as well as to acquire, furnish, and repair buildings. School districts in Kansas can also issue bonds to purchase school buses.[3]

The aggregate amount of bonds outstanding at any one time (exclusive of bonds exempted from statutory limitations) cannot exceed 14% of the assessed valuation of taxable tangible property within the school district's geographical borders. However, the Kansas State Board of Education can issue an order authorizing a school district to vote and issue bonds in an amount exceeding the general 14% limitation.[4]

Any request for a school district to have a bond election must be approved by the Kansas Department of Education. If the Kansas Department of Education approves the request for new bonds, then the school district can request the county election officer to hold an election at the next available election date.[5]

Conduct of the bond election, limitations, rules

Authority conducting elections

The election is conducted by the county election officer in the county in which the school district is located.[6]

Election dates

Under Kansas law, all school bond and capital outlay elections can be held during the first Tuesday in April in a odd number year for general elections. For primary elections, it is 5 weeks before the First Tuesday in April.[7] Also, school elections in Kansas can be held during the same time for general and primary elections for constitutional officers.[8] This is done during the First Tuesday in August and November. School districts are not allowed to hold elections when Presidential Preference primaries are held.

Needed majority

A simple majority vote is required for bond elections to pass.

Special elections

School districts are not allowed to hold more than one special bond election at a time other than a general election or when school board members are elected, more than once a year[9]. Also, bond elections cannot be held 60 days before or after a general election in Kansas.

The special election requirement for bond elections is not required for capital outlay levy elections.

Wording of measures

Under Kansas law, all ballot measures for school bond and capital outlay levies must be placed on the same ballot with constitutional amendments and constitutional officers. The ballot question must end in the words "Shall the following be adopted?" The ballot question must end with Yes or No using check mark boxes. If there are multiple propositions or questions to be voted on, the different propositions must be separately numbered and printed. This is done by separating the questions on the same ballot by a broad solid line 1/8th inch wide or by double lines approximately 1/8th inch apart.[10]

Required notice of bond election

A school district is required to publish a notice of a forthcoming bond election once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper with general circulation in the district. The first such notice must be published not less than twenty-one (21) days before the date of the election.[11]

Historical data, Kansas school bond elections

The following table demonstrates historical data of the number of bonds proposed in the state of Kansas, the number of bonds passed per election cycle and the total outstanding debt obligation for Kansas USD.


In 2009, 9 out of 24 school bond referendums passed in the State of Kansas.[12]


In 2008, 23 out of 34 school bond referendums passed in the State of Kansas.[13]


In 2007, 16 of 27 proposed school bond measures in Kansas passed.[14]


In 2006, 10 of 23 proposed school bond measures passed in Kansas.[15]


In 2005, 15 of 28 proposed school bond measures passed.[16]


In 2004, 16 of 27 proposed school bond measures passed.[17]


In 2002-2003, 9 of 21 proposed school bond measures passed.


In 2001-2002, 11 of 20 proposed school bond measures passed.


In 2000-2001, 19 of 25 proposed school bond measures passed.

See also

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