Archive for Thursday, November 8, 2007

Board has work ahead with victory in bond referendum

November 8, 2007

On Tuesday, voters in Eudora USD 491 approved a $45 million bond issue that will provide funds for a new elementary school, improvements to all other school buildings in the district, a new vocation education center and -- of course -- a new district stadium.

It is the second time this decade Eudora voters have approved a bond issue for the growing district. That illustrates there is no such thing as a permanent solution to space needs in a growing community. But with the passage of the bond, the district appears to be in a period of respite. Eudora's growth has slowed considerably as the nationwide housing slump is felt locally and new home starts fall drastically from the 100-plus witnessed annually earlier this decade (the slowdown should also save the district money on early projects as contractors search for work).

But in another regard, the board's work is just getting started. Rightfully, the school board focused the last year on district space needs. Now, even as it manages an extensive building program, it must start to address what to do with excess district properties. Those would include much of the old middle school complex, Kerr Field and the property near Nottingham Elementary. Although Nottingham won't be replaced as an attendance center for another school year and as the district's computer center for longer than that, the board is now free to make decisions of its future.

The same can be said about the old middle school complex with the new vocational education center now a certainty.

Those decisions will require an internal review of how the properties fit the district's needs and feedback from outside about how they can best serve the community. The district has garnered a good deal of input in that regard, but progress should now be expected on the properties' disposition. Board members and district officials have much work ahead of them as they savor Tuesday's victory.

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