Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Campaign begins

Committee to support November school bond referendum

June 7, 2007

Her group doesn't have an official name, or even a slogan, but Kim Schulz has committed herself to making sure a fall school bond passes.

She's looking for more like-minded residents to join a campaign committee to help inform the public on what the $45 million referendum entails. She co-chairs the committee with Karen Sanders.

Schulz helped steer the passage of a $16 million bond in 2001 for the construction of the new high school.

"We are mostly patterning our strategy on our last success," Schulz said.

So far, the group has only met once and received an overview of the bond from Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Marty Kobza.

"Because this bond issue is so complicated, our biggest task is to educate the community and to define all of the details for the community so they have a clear understanding of what will be involved with the bond," Schulz said.

The biggest project in the proposed bond package will be a new $26.9 million first- through- fifth grade elementary school building.

The new building would take the place of Nottingham Elementary School and Eudora West Elementary School.

The new grade school's construction means the district would no longer use Nottingham as an attendance center.

In the same scenario, West Elementary School would become a preschool and kindergarten center.

Other aspects of the bond include a new sixth-grade center for Eudora Middle School, improvements to Eudora High School, including an auditorium, additional class space and a $2.9 million stadium.

Schulz's group is responsible for informing the public on what will be done to each of the buildings as well as explaining what it would mean to district patrons financially.

"That's the fun part to tell people," Schulz said.

Her group must stay informed on more than the scope of the bond.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of questions in the community about other school issues that don't have anything to do with the bond," Schulz said.

Such questions concern the fate of Nottingham or Laws Field, Schulz said.

"Because the new stadium is part of this bond issue, people have questions about the future of Laws Field and what will happen to it," Schulz said.

As of now, the district has no plans for the future of Nottingham or Laws Field.

Between now and Election Day, the group plans on organizing presentations, voter registration drives and one-on-one informational appointments.

"If you have a good product all you have to do is lay it out on the table and the people will see you have a good product, and we have a good product at a very good price," Schulz said.

In addition to setting up presentations, the group is currently gathering an array of printed materials. The group also is working on setting up a Web site for the bond issue, she said.

"We do have to look at how we put this information together, because we don't want to overwhelm people," Schulz said. "We want all of the facts to be totally accurate, but there's a ton of facts concerning every issue."

The group will start a letter-writing campaign to raise funds, she said.

Although about 10 people attended the first meeting, more would be welcome, Schulz said.

"We can keep 25 people very, very busy," she said.

For more information about the group, call Schulz at 542-2281.

The campaign committee's next meeting will be 7 p.m. Thursday in the Eudora Middle School Library, 2635 Church St.

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