Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2007

Board defines $45 million bond

May 10, 2007

The Eudora USD 491 Board of Education accepted the final form of a $45 million bond package Thursday.

"We've got to go. This is where we're at," Superintendent Marty Kobza said.

The bond priorities for the November referendum include a $26.9 million first- through fifth-grade elementary school and a new sixth-grade attendance center for Eudora Middle School.

The board heard a preliminary estimate April 23 from the chosen bond architectural firm DLR Group, which set the mark closer to $46 million.

To cut costs, the board members decided to remove a $2.5 million district operations center from its list of priorities.

"It's a hard sell," Kobza said.

Board member Brenda Clark was initially leery of the cut.

"I think it's sad for our district. I think they need the space," Clark said. "I think we need a central building that really highlights what our district is about. I don't think we have that where we are at right now."

The public generally supports projects they see having a direct connection to the schools or students, Kobza said. The farther away a project gets from the classroom, the less support it's generally thought it would receive, Kobza said.

The operations center also ranked lowest in a telephone survey the district conducted in January concerning the bond, Kobza said.

"It's not going away," Kobza said. "We just don't know when it's going to happen right now," Kobza said.

The board agreed to make the operations center a priority when funds become available.

Other bond projects include:

  • $6.4 million worth of improvements to Eudora High School including new classroom space and a 750-person auditorium
  • $2.6 million worth of total improvements to Eudora Middle School
  • A $3.45 million technical education facility
  • A $2.9 million stadium
  • $378,000 worth of improvements to Eudora West Elementary School to turn it into a preschool and kindergarten center

The total estimated construction costs for all buildings within the bond came to $42,756,426.

The district incorporated current debt payments into the bond including a four-year $647,737 computer leasing agreement with Apple Inc.

By doing so, the district will be able to take advantage of state aid, which will cover 37 percent of the bond payments, Kobza said.

In addition to construction projects and debt consolidation, the budget incorporated $95,837 for contingency purposes to bring the package up to $45 million.

"I don't think there's a lot of pork floating around in this," board member Kenny Massey said. "I think it's well thought out."

The board will still need to adopt a formal resolution to add the referendum to the ballot.

The motion allows the district to direct the bond architect to start designing projects and allows for accurate prebond publicity of the package, district communications coordinator Kristin Magette said.

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