LPS discusses bond options, some include likely tax increases

LINCOLN, Neb (KOLN) - The Lincoln School Board is weighing five bond options, but not all include keeping the levy rate the same, as was previously discussed.

(Source: KOLN).

If the levy rate stays the same, taxes would not go up. If the levy rate increases, taxes would likely do so as well.

While Lincoln continues to grow, so does the school district. Lincoln Public Schools announced last week a record enrollment - 42,297 students. That's an increase of 227 from the 2018-2019 school year. Over the last five years, the district has grown by more than 2,300 kids, or about 5.5-percent.

On Monday, the board met in its third of six work sessions related to the problems outlined by the Superintendent's Facilities Advisory Committee. The SFAC listed $464 million in needs, but discussions with LPS have previously only included a possible bond issue in the $250 million to $290 million range.

That $464 million price tag includes everything from new schools at every level, to new athletic facilities, to upgrades at existing buildings.

"[It's about] How do we keep up as a community in providing quality learning spaces as students,” said Liz Standish, Associate Superintendent of Business Affairs.

LPS has previously said a bond issue would likely max out at around $290 million, but we learned Monday night, that's not necessarily the case.

The school board was presented with five options. The possible bond amounts ranged from $286 million to $476 million.

"We're digging into the details trying to understand the needs to determine which priorities make sense,” said Standish.

Model A
- $286 Million
- 25-Year Authorization
- 16.1 Cent Levy
- No Tax Increase

Model B
- $317.7 Million
- 30-Year Authorization
- 16.1 Cent Levy
- No Tax Increase

Model C
- $322 Million
- 25-Year Authorization
- 17.1 Cent Levy
- Tax Increase = About $10 per $100,000 home value

Model D
- $357.6 Million
- 30-Year Authorization
- 17.1 Cent Levy
- Tax Increase = About $10 per $100,000 home value

Model E
- $476.7 Million
- 25-Year Authorization
- 21.8 Cent Levy
- Tax Increase = About $57 per $100,000 home value

The district could also choose to lower some of its other levy rates, offsetting potential levy increases from the bond issue.

The district has three more work sessions to figure out what it wants to do. It expects to unveil its plan in November, with a possible vote in December.

The bond issue will likely be presented to Lincoln voters in the spring of 2020.