Board approves school bond vote
Baldwin City school patrons will be asked in November to approve a $7.89 million bond issue to build and equip a new elementary school and provide renovations and additions to the district's existing junior high and grade schools.
The resolution setting the election was approved unanimously at a special meeting Monday by the Baldwin school board.
The special meeting was called because the bond proposal had to be approved before Aug. 10 to be included on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Ed Schulte, school board president, said Monday's action brings the school board one step closer to providing sufficient facilities for a growing population.
"There is increased enrollment at all grade levels, and with the expected growth in Baldwin we want to stay ahead of the curve," Schulte said. "We want to provide good learning space."
District Supt. James White agreed.
"We have a need and we just want to present that need to the patrons of the district and help them understand the needs of the district," White said.
White said growth in the school was evident.
"Last year the school district grew around 4 percent, and we are seeing a gradual increase every year," White said. "We will continue to grow because there quite a number of houses being constructed in the area and that development is causing us some concern about providing space in the schools."
The resolution to be put before voters would allow the school district to sell bonds up to $7.89 million to build and equip a new elementary school, provide renovations and additions to the Baldwin Junior High School, provide renovations and additions to the Vinland Elementary School and Marion Springs Elementary School.
The bond issue, if approved by voters, would set into motion a 15-year plan to make improvements to all areas of Baldwin schooling.
If the bond issue is approved, White said, the district is likely to build the new elementary school on the west edge of the city. The school would include approximately 12 new classrooms.
The funds also will allow for the addition of three classrooms at the junior high and two additional classrooms and a multipurpose room at Vinland, and possibly a storage area at Marion Springs.
White said the need to increase staff size may be required once new facilities become available.
As for the next step, the board will send a copy of the published resolution to the Kansas State Board of Education and to the Douglas County Clerk. The State Board of Education is required by law to approve the resolution for the election because the amount of debt exceeds 14 percent of the district's assessed valuation.
Schulte said planning the improvements will require a widespread effort.
"We are looking forward to much community planning and several information sessions," he said.
The board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the district office to discuss further development plans.