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SPS superintendent: New bond issue could come in 2023

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A new Springfield Public Schools bond issue could come to voters as early as 2023, according to Superintendent Grenita Lathan.

Lathan discussed the SPS Board of Education's consideration of future bonds in an interview yesterday with Springfield Business Journal Editorial Vice President Eric Olson. Lathan was interviewed live at The Backlot, Alamo Drafthouse Springfield's restaurant and bar, for SBJ's 12 People You Need to Know series.

The board in July appointed a community task force to meet every other week and explore the possibility of a new bond issue, Lathan said.

"They have toured our facilities," she said, noting the task force is preparing to make recommendations to the board in October. "The board has the right to accept the report as is or they have the right to make changes to it."

If a board decision is not made in October, Lathan said it likely would in November.

The Springfield News-Leader last week reported the board's Community Task Force on Facilities met Sept. 13. The board was presented with three bond issue possibilities – one with no change to the tax rate that would be valued at $220 million, a 6-cent increase for an issuance of $240 million and a 6-cent decrease for bonds worth $185 million, the News-Leader reported.

SPS continues to work on facility improvement projects approved by voters in 2019 through the $168 million bond issue dubbed Proposition S. Lathan said yesterday that Jarrett Middle School, Hillcrest High School and York Elementary School are the final projects and on track for completion in early 2023.

Beyond the bond issue, Lathan currently is working with her team to encourage community feedback on a new strategic plan. EGL Association consultants are assisting in the process, and a survey can be taken online.

Noting the survey participation rate has been "great" so far, she asked all residents to take the survey.

“Our job is to graduate students who are ready for college or the world of work or the military," Lathan said.

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