The committee on Monday will present a proposal for nearly
The group, which has been meeting since 2011, has proposed:
--A third middle school, estimated to cost
--An improved transportation building to allow for better maintenance and operation of the district's fleet of school buses and other vehicles. Estimated cost:
According to the committee report, an
A telephone survey of Maize voters conducted last year by Patron Insight showed solid support for a bond issue between
"It wasn't about the dollar value," Powers said. "It was more about people's perceptions of the items that were on the list.
"They were more interested in knowing more about what we were planning."
Bond issues tend to garner plenty of support in Maize, a district of about 7,000 students that includes much of west Wichita. Since 1977, voters have approved six bond issues worth
Nearly two-thirds of Maize voters voted yes for the latest bond issue -- nearly
A new bond issue would be the first for Powers in Maize. The district's former superintendent,
And this one will be complicated by another issue board members are grappling with: student placement. Maize is considering several options for changing the way it assigns students to schools, including boundaries, feeder patterns, reconfiguring grade levels in certain buildings or some combination.
"It's kind of a chicken-egg thing," Powers said. "Your facilities can drive how you place kids, and how you place kids could drive what you do with your facilities."
Powers said officials with the district's architect,
One placement option, for example, calls for building a third middle school; two middle schools would feed directly to
But any placement system that requires new buildings could make board members nervous, Powers said.
"If we don't have confidence that we can pass a bond issue -- because of the economy, because of politics, whatever it is -- they may ... say, 'OK, we're going to have to let facilities drive how we place kids, because that's just the spot we're in.' "
Monday's meeting, set for
In the telephone survey of district residents, which gauged support for a "hypothetical" bond issue as well as several individual projects, tornado shelters at
A conceptual drawing in the committee report shows two shelter spaces -- one on the north side of the school and one on the south -- to "reduce travel distances" to the safe rooms during severe weather.
Survey respondents showed more modest support for renovations to
A proposed aquatic center drew somewhat more support than opposition. Preliminary plans call for a natatorium with a 50-meter-by-25-yard pool and elevated seating for 750, similar to one at
Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents said they would be more likely to vote in favor of a bond issue if it included a new pool complex, 31 percent said they would be more likely to vote against it, and 25 percent said it wouldn't make a difference.
Powers said a swimming pool was proposed when officials first drew up plans for the 2007 bond issue. "But it didn't test very well (in polls), so it was removed," he said.
"We moved on, and it came back up with our facilities group. And interestingly, it was one of the top issues for them as a group. They were in favor of it."
Currently, Maize's high school swim teams practice at the
"Anytime we do anything, it's got to be curriculum-related," he said. "Giving our kids the ability ... to have swimming instruction -- when they walk out of here, they're drown-proof -- I think that is a critical thing."
A new transportation facility would improve efficiency and allow better maintenance of the district's bus fleet, Powers said. When Maize canceled school three days during a recent snowstorm, "the third day was because we couldn't get our buses started," he said.
The recent survey showed support for the district in general, Powers said, but some caution about another bond issue.
"It was more of a, 'We like the district. We trust the district. But we're in a wait-and-see mode,' " he said. " 'Let's hear more about these projects, and we'll tell you where we're at with that.' "
Meanwhile, construction costs continue to rise.
"Sooner is better than later," Powers said.
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