Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

Focusing on growth

District prepares to look into a 2008 bond issue

August 18, 2005

In the next few months, Eudora USD 491 will be drawing up a proposal for a 2008 bond issue that will strive to keep the district in pace with the community's steady growth.
"What we're doing is we're on a timeline right now where we're trying to stay ahead of the growth curve," Superintendent Marty Kobza said. "In the 2008-2009 school year, our existing bond on the middle school retires."
In order to start the massive research putting a bond referendum together would entail, the district will set three special meetings to discuss aspects of the proposal.
The district had originally scheduled a meeting for Saturday to tackle all three issues at once, but because of scheduling conflicts issues will be examined separately at the different meetings. The first will follow the district's budget hearing, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the district office, 1102 Elm St.
The goal of the early discussions is to give district residents the best deal for their tax dollars, Kobza said. With more time to plan, the projects will be better organized, which in turn might cost less money.
"In other words, a bond will come on and the residents will not see a mill rate increase," Kobza said.
The first part of the bond discussion will focus on the methodology of the proposed projects. The Board will also discuss ways to best address the ever-tightening space within the district.
The district has specific concerns related to the space issues at Nottingham Elementary School. In order to solve the issue, the district is looking at adding mobile classroom units at the school.
"Within a couple years, we'll need to add mobile units to West, too," Kobza said.
Because of the funds involved, the procedure will take time.
"Realistically, if we were able to pass a bond in 2008, it will take until 2010 for construction to be complete," Kobza said.
For that portion of the discussion, the Board will bring in representatives from an architectural firm.
"What we're looking at is construction methodologies rather than a program management approach, "Kobza said.
This is an important step in the bond issue's progression.
"Before we brought anything to the public we would need to show what we were proposing," Kobza said.
The next issue the board will discuss as part of a possible 2008 bond referendum is the construction of a new track and field stadium south of Kansas Highway 10.
During the school board meeting last Thursday, the board talked about tackling that topic during a September meeting.
The board reasoned having a stadium south of the highway would be safer than having the students cross over the bridge to Laws Field for sporting events.
The final discussion topic will focus on the district's plans for the Eudora Community Learning Center.
"What we will be looking at is the property has been appraised and having the appraiser coming in and talking about the appraisal, " Kobza said.
From there, the board would look at which portions of the center belong to the district and which belong to the city. Then they will try to choose a plan of action that would most benefit the city, Kobza said.

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