Archive for Thursday, April 20, 2006

District hires projection company

April 20, 2006

District officials agree, Eudora's school system could boom in the coming years. The Eudora USD 491 Board of Education will soon get an idea of how exactly it might turn out.

Members of the board took the first official step in quantifying current growth trends by approving a multi-year contract with RSP Associates, LLC.

The firm will supply the district with projections, student density mapping and consultation for possible reorganization.

At a special meeting last month, Superintendent Marty Kobza invited Rob Schwarz of RSP to present what his company had to offer.

Weeks later, the board was ready with a decision.

Having received a proposal from RSP, which included a broad range of services from which the district could choose buffet-style, Kobza with board members Joe Pyle and Brenda Clark decided to propose a three-year plan to the rest of the board.

"This year it would be forecasting maps of where our students are located, then to planning processes, then site acquisition services or site identification services would be appropriate," Kobza said.

Originally RSP provided the district with seven options, which Clark, Kobza and Pyle narrowed to four.

"We talked about enrollment reports the first year which is off of next year's enrollment in the fall, and in the second year, which would be 2007-2008 enrollment reports and maps and grade reconfiguration structures," Clark said. "We can find out whatever the scenarios are if you want those different."

To tally the enrollment reports, RSP will use records from the district, city and county to project basic growth patterns.

"This is purely a project driven fee," Kobza said.

The first-year report will cost the district $17,000.

"I think you are all comfortable with what we propose as far as the report for each year," Kobza said.

In the following year, the district chose to expand services with RSP by looking into possible ways to reorganize the district's grade structure.

"It might be really worthwhile for us to look at what they come up with," Clark said.

In the third year, in addition to the growth reports and suggestions for reorganization, the board will also consider site-planning services.

"We thought there was a strong need to get good data to support our decisions in the future," Pyle said.

Doing similar work for the Spring Hill school district, RSP attained 98 percent accuracy with their work, Pyle said.

"There are just too many dynamics that are occurring in the community right now. With the growth factor and the interchange, we just felt we needed good professional help," Pyle said.

The board used the information gathered from RSP at last month's meeting to possibly incorporate into the developmental stages of a 2008 bond issue.

Kobza said board officials could have the initial report by their June meeting.

For future reports, RSP will deliver updates to the district in January on odd years and September in even years.

The motion to accept RSP's proposal passed unanimously.

"It's something we need to do," board member Kenny Massey said.

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