Blue Springs schools ask voters for bonds and a levy transfer

Three years after voters approved a district building bond issue, the Blue Springs School District is asking voters for a second bond issue to move the rest of its freshmen to campus a high school. In addition, each elementary school in the district would have a hardened space against strong tornadoes.

The district will ask voters on Aug. 2 to approve a $ 107 million bond issue for, among other projects, a freshman wing at the northwest corner of Blue Springs High School. Issuing bonds would not increase taxes.

When this project is completed in about two years, the district would transform the current Freshman Center into a career and innovation center.

A second question for voters will be a levy transfer – 6 cents from debt service to operations. The district’s total property tax levy would remain unchanged at $ 5.7286 per $ 100 of assessed assessment. With the additional income for operations, the district plans to hire six middle and high school mental health professionals and have a registered nurse for each school.

Bond issuance requires a two-thirds majority of voters (about 67 percent) to pass. The direct debit transfer requires a simple majority.

With a $ 99 million bond issue approved in 2018, the district added a freshman wing to Blue Springs South High School, moving about half of the students out of the Freshman Center. He also renovated and built additional space for the fine arts at Blue Springs High School, built a new media center on this campus, and added space at the Liggett Trail Education Center, among other projects.

This bond issue, said Superintendent Bob Jerome, was carried out “with the long term vision of bringing all freshmen back into the high school buildings.”

The new space at Blue Springs High School would replace the current Civic Center, the original auditorium built in the 1960s.

“It would really reflect what we did at Blue Springs South,” Jerome said. “It would be a two story addition.”

In 2023, the district would convert the Freshman Center into a vocational education building. The Board of Directors voted to name it after recently retired educator and administrator, Annette Seago.

“We currently have (career oriented) programs in this building, but a real renovation won’t happen until the freshmen are moved,” Jerome said.

The $ 107 million bond issue is also about growth and sustaining listings.

Primary schools

James Lewis Elementary would have six additional classrooms and offices, William Bryant would have six new classrooms, and Chapel Lakes Elementary would have four new classrooms built to withstand an EF5 tornado.

Franklin Smith Elementary gets a multi-purpose hall with EF5 capacity, giving every elementary building in the district such space. Franklin Smith, Lucy Franklin, Voy Spears Jr., William Bryant, and William Yates Elementary Schools will all receive kitchen upgrades.

“Different corridors in our district are experiencing growth and expected growth,” said Jerome, adding that the district was not planning to change the elementary boundaries.

Other bond projects planned:

• Roof and HVAC maintenance for many buildings in the neighborhood.

• Improvements to the indoor pool at Centennial Pool-Plex, which Jerome says could eventually mean a new indoor pool. The outdoor pool will disappear.

• An additional tennis court at Baumgardner Park

• All-season surfaces for college trails.

• Office expansion and pathway update for John Nowlin Elementary School.

• Parking and additional washrooms at James Walker Elementary School.

The royalty transfer would help the district’s goal of increasing mental health support for students.

“We know we had mental health issues among our students before the pandemic, and as we come out of the pandemic – unfortunately we are still grappling with this – we know we will have issues among the students,” Jerome said. .

Having mental health professionals in every middle and high school would allow the district to use social workers in different ways in the district, Jerome said. Likewise, the fact of eventually having a qualified nurse in each school building allows better use of nursing assistants. All current staff in both areas would remain, the superintendent said.

“We have a number of health aides across the district who are doing an incredible job,” Jerome said. “Our medical needs have, quite frankly, increased a lot over the years. ”

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