Archive for Thursday, April 17, 2008

USD 491 enrollment to increase

April 17, 2008

A study done by Rob Schwarz of RSP Associates found that although population growth in Eudora has slowed, Eudora USD 491 will continue to see moderate increases in enrollment numbers.

The study, presented to school board members Thursday, projected growth of 33 students for the 2008-09 school year. Enrollment was up by 58 students between the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years.

The study projected an overall enrollment increase of about 319 students - from 1,398 to 1,717 - during the next five years

The estimates took into account economic scenarios and growth throughout Eudora area, as well as the state of Kansas.

The number of estimated outgoing students was subtracted from the number of estimated incoming students to arrive at the estimate. New incoming student numbers do not include kindergarten students, and outgoing student numbers do not include graduating seniors.

"The fact that the economy is in the situation that it is and we're seeing the type of growth that we've seen the last couple of years is a positive," Superintendent of Schools Marty Kobza said. "I think it says that a lot of those people who have had children in town are staying and their kids are staying in the school system."

Because of Eudora's status as a bedroom community, changes in the economy such as gas prices have caused new housing starts to fall from 117 new single-family homes in 2003 to just nine new single-family homes in 2007.

There have been four new single-family homes built so far this year.

Kobza said the school district was aware of the decrease in new homes during planning for the $45 million bond issue that passed Nov. 6.

"Reality is that for the next year or two, growth is going to stay very moderate, and maybe even slow until the economy gets turned around," Kobza said. "We accounted for that when we did the bond."

Schwarz told board members he estimates the economy will begin to turn during the second quarter of 2009.

While Kobza said the lagging economy means there won't be enough growth to initially offset the cost of construction, construction costs currently are relatively low.

"The positives are that the construction industry is hungry for work," he said. "Our first bid kind of reflected that. The fact that material and fuel costs are going up is kind of offset by the fact that there isn't a lot of work out there and that contractors right now are very competitive."

The school district in late March received a bid for site earthwork of the property where the new elementary school will be built. De Soto-based construction company R.L. Duncan was awarded the job after making a bid of $1,279,000. The bid came in $452,000 less than the appraisal of $1,731,104.

In other actions, the board:

¢ Approved the sealed bid method of sale of the home on the property of Robert Durr. The Durr property sits at the west end of the site where the new elementary school is being built. They sold their property to USD 491, and as part of their agreement, will vacate the premises by Oct. 1.

The school district is selling the home, though whoever buys the home must remove it from the premises within 30 days of the purchase.

"We would anticipate someone would buy it to move it, but if we're selling it we can't tell them what to do with it other than to have it off of the property," Kobza said.

USD 491 will not employ a realtor to sell the home, but they will advertise the home in area newspapers.

"As far as open houses and how we show it, those are all details we have to work through," Kobza said. "But once we get a better timeframe of the Durrs plans on how long they anticipate being there, we can move forward with the rest.

"Mr. and Mrs. Durr have been wonderful to work with," Kobza said. "I know that they're anxious to get their new home up and move into it, but I would anticipate it would be before October 1."

¢ Approved the renewal of certified and classified staff contracts for the 2008-09 school year.

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