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New facilities plan proposed
An April bond election is being considered
board with aaron emerson 2020
New Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education member Aaron Emerson is shown with fellow board members Susan Young and Deanna Essmiller at Monday’s school board meeting. - photo by Courtesy of Great Bend USD 428

No official action was taken Monday, but the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education heard information about what a new bond election could look like. Terry Wiggers from SJCF Architecture showed them a plan that would offer more options and require a smaller mill-levy increase than the $45 million bond proposal that failed last September.

The school board next meets at noon on Jan. 30 at Lincoln Elementary School. At that time, Wiggers said, the board can approve a bond resolution and authorize filing with the Kansas Board of Education. This would allow time for an April 28 election day, with advance voting starting April 14.

The bond would have four questions. The first would have to pass before any of the others, but after that each question could pass or fail separately.

Question 1 - $28,040,644 - Includes tornado shelters, safety, infrastructure improvements and additions, including plans for Washington Early Childhood Education Center.

Question 2 - $4,545,254 - Includes 6th-grade additions at Great Bend Middle School.

Question 3 - $4,671,766 - Includes administration additions and drop-off/parking at Jefferson, Riley and Lincoln schools.

Question 4 - $1,830,452 - Build high school locker additions not in Question 1.

Total - $39,088,116

Reduced mill levy

The estimated mill levy increase will depend on whether the district’s resolution seeks to repay the bond in 20 years or 25 years. In either case, it would be lower than the previous proposal.

The estimate for 20 years is: Question 1, 8 mills; Question 2, 1.4 mills; Question 3, 1.45 mills; Question 4, 0.6 mills. Total for all four: 11.45 mills.

The estimate for 25 years is: Question 1, 6.85 mills; Question 2, 1.25 mills; Question 3, 1.3 mills; Question 4, 0.5 mills. Total for all four: 9.9 mills.

A more detailed look at the plan shows Great Bend Middle School would get a new controlled entry/student support addition and a new band, choir and orchestra addition. If Question 2 also passed, GBMS would get a new sixth-grade cafeteria and kitchen addition and a new storm shelter for the sixth grade.

Great Bend High School would get:

• New controlled entry/student support remodel

• Orchestra addition (storm shelter) and existing auditorium technology upgrade

• New screen wall and walk between GBHS and Panther Activity Center

• Renovate and expand kitchen

• Expand Physical Education lockers, Fitness Lab, Wrestling and rest-rooms

• New health classrooms (storm shelter)

• Address needed infrastructure improvements in electrical, lighting, HVAC and roofs

If Question 3 passed, GBHS would also get a new locker addition (in addition to the one listed above) and Student Support addition.

Washington Education Center, which also houses Barton County Special Services, would see a remodel to the 1980s wing for classrooms, therapy, controlled access and office. The existing gym would be remodeled. The 100-year-old portion of the building would be demolished with new additions including a Special Services classroom and a new Parent-Teacher Resource Center with classroom (storm shelter). 

Cheryl Rugan 2020
Superintendent Khris Thexton is shown with outgoing school board member Cheryl Rugan, who received a plaque and a lifetime pass to USD 428 events in honor of her service. The service of school board members was recognized Monday, so Rugan and all of the sitting board members also received apple pies. - photo by Courtesy of Great Bend USD 428

Meeting at a glance

Here’s a brief look at Monday’s Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting:

• The administration recognized board members for the crucial role elected officials play in our community and schools.

• GBHS Career/ACT Coordinator Lacey Wolters, and Kim Heath, GBHS English teacher/Debate Coach, talked about the Distinguished Scholarship Invitational (DSI) at Wichita State University. 

• GBHS Activities Director David Meter introduced All-Conference Student-Athletes.

• The board discussed the facilities master plan, an achievable plan the community will support and a possible bond proposal. The board will vote on whether to approve an April bond election with four questions when it meets on Jan. 30.

• The 2018-2019 business audit report and governance letter of Adams, Brown, Beran, and Ball, Chtd.was presented by Vickie Dreiling, CPA. The report was approved by the board.

• A computer price adjustment of $330 was approved.

• Requests for next year’s school fundraisers were approved.

• Contributions to the district were approved, including continuing the gift of bicycles from local patrons for the Perfect Attendance Bicycle Giveaway program. They will donate bicycles to each elementary school to use for student perfect attendance incentives.

• A board work session to review district goals for the year is set for 5 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 17, at the District Education Center.

• Members representing GB-NEA (Great Bend-National Education Association) and the Board of Education will meet for Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) at 8 a.m. on April 28 at the District Education Center.

• The retirement of Debbie Koelsch, counselor at Great Bend High School, was approved. She will retire at the end of the school year.