Archive for Thursday, April 23, 2009

USD 491 approves construction bids

USD 491 Board of Education members and EHS staff watch Friday as EHS students Joel Besser, senior class president Bre Miller, junior class president Kyle Snow, sophomore class president Anthony Mersmann and freshman class president Madeline Dickerson break ground on the new EHS auditorium technical center. The USD 491 Board of Education approved bids for the projects at a meeting Thursday.

USD 491 Board of Education members and EHS staff watch Friday as EHS students Joel Besser, senior class president Bre Miller, junior class president Kyle Snow, sophomore class president Anthony Mersmann and freshman class president Madeline Dickerson break ground on the new EHS auditorium technical center. The USD 491 Board of Education approved bids for the projects at a meeting Thursday.

April 23, 2009

Don Swartz gushed about low bids for the expansion of Eudora High School at Thursday night’s USD 491 Board of Education meeting.

“These numbers that we’re going to share are really, really good,” said Swartz, USD 491 Construction Consultant.

The projects include a new auditorium and additions to the Eudora-De Soto Technical education center.

The cost of construction will be about $6.5 million, which is about $642,000 less than the estimated cost of about $7.15 million

The two facilities will be completed in the fall of 2010 and were part a $45 million bond issue approved by Eudora voters in November 2007.

The next project on which the district will break ground is a 4,000-seat stadium that will sit just north of Eudora High School.

The board also approved the sale of $11.25 million in general obligation bonds. Though the district struggled in December to sell bonds because of a flooded municipal bond market, district bond counsel Steve Shogren told the board it was easier this time around and a better interest rate also was acquired.

“It’s very encouraging because it allows us to move forward with the next round of projects and also finish the current round of projects,” Superintendent Don Grosdidier said.

While the district enjoyed the two items of positive financial news, the possibility for budget cuts still remain.

On Friday, the Kansas Legislature announced that next year’s budget is nearly $330 million in the red.

In preparation of possible cuts, the district saved another $12,000 after decreasing the school year by two days — a move that came as a result of no snow days during the 2008-2009 school year. The last day of school now is

May 18.

The district has cut $143,710, to date.

The board will investigate cutting certified staff positions, including an auto collision instructor, an ESL instructor, and three elementary school instructor positions, as well as coaching positions.

Grosdidier told the board that if such cuts were made, it was important not to “reduce opportunities for students.”

“These are all positions that won’t eliminate teams or programs,” Grosdidier said.

— Reporter Scott Rothschild contributed to this report.

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