Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
The work session focused on facility planning and a potential bond issue. Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, discussed the timeline with the board and the scenarios developed by BG Consultants. Mr. Reid recommended having the general scope of the bond completed by May 2018 that would outline the components of the bond issue. The proposed bond would be sent to the Kansas Board of Education in July with the expectation that the state board would approve it by August. Then, the local board would have August through November to educate the public, and the bond would be on the November ballot.
Mr. Reid reviewed the scenarios developed by BG Consultants. One option involved creating early learning centers at College Hill and Eugene Field, and other existing preschool centers would close. Elementary schools would house grades K-5 instead of the current K-6. A new elementary school would be built. Sixth grade would move to the middle school level, and the middle schools would be added onto. Grades 9-12 would be in one building, and MHS East Campus would become an innovative school. A second scenario would keep grades K-6 at the elementary level, two new elementary schools would be built, and the middle school and high school levels would remain the same. A third option would repurpose the middle schools as elementary schools that would also house early learning, MHS West Campus would become the middle school and would house grades 6-8, MHS East Campus would be mothballed, and a new 9-12 high school would be built. There were also “sub options” that would allow for additional flexibility.
Dave Colburn commented that he felt it was highly unrealistic to consider doing another bond in five years because he’s already heard concerns from the public that it’s only been 10 years since the last bond. His recommendation was that anything that needs to happen in five years should be in the priority one level of the bond planning, and he also recommended that the board determine the educational vision of what board members want to do. Karla Hagemeister agreed that the board should think about needs, and a new elementary school is a clear need and a second one would be needed in a few years. However, she didn’t want to build a second elementary school just because of the notion that in order to gain support for building a school on the east side, one would have to be built on the west side as well. Mr. Colburn was willing to entertain the idea of two new elementary schools because they would address the problems with overcrowding.
New board members Jurdene Coleman, Karla Hagemeister, and Katrina Lewison were sworn into office.
Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, reported that the governor mentioned a $600 million funding plan for 5 years, and fact-finding and information gathering is taking place in regards to the plan.
The board discussed a land transfer arrangement with the City of Manhattan. The school district owns property along Amherst Ave., which could be a future school site. The city recently acquired property adjacent to the district’s property. The district inquired about the possibility of acquiring the city’s land because the land would help to provide access to Wreath Ave. The city agreed to transfer ownership of the land at no cost with a reversion agreement that if the district sells or transfers ownership without constructing a school, then the land would revert to the city. The board approved 7-0 the land transfer.