Next month, registered voters in Great Bend USD 428 will receive ballots so they can vote on two bond proposals for school improvements. The mail-ballot election ends Sept. 5.
In November, registered voters in Hoisington who go to the polls will be asked a question about extending the city’s sales tax that is scheduled to end this year.
In both cases, people are being asked to raise their own taxes and they are being promised something in return. Hoisington’s half-cent sales tax now helps pay for street repairs but an extension could include other purposes. USD 428’s two bond proposals total nearly $45 million ($41,750,000 for Question One and an additional $3,120,000 for Question Two), which breaks down as:
• 25 percent for safety and security
• 27 percent to expand preschools so they are at all elementary schools, moving sixth graders to GBMS and building a new wing for them
• 36 percent for renovations and improvements, including new construction at the Washington Early Education Center and a new Transportation and Maintenance Building out by the District Education Center
• 7 percent (for Questions Two), to build a gymnasium addition at GBMS, to accommodate the student body growth of 50%
• 5% for improvements at GBHS
Voters need to have information so they can make an intelligent decision before heading to the polls.
Here is Great Bend, there is so much information that it almost feels like information overload. After all, the school board received a 320-page document on “Master Plan Report & Recommendations for Great Bend USD 428 Facilities,” back in January and used that as the basis for creating a master plan. That came after almost a year of meetings and research, including the efforts of a 50-member community group.
To be sure, the public can get answers at public meetings set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at the Front Door Facility (with presentations in English and Spanish) and at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, at the Great Bend High School Auditorium. Or, you can tour individual schools from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, and hear what is planned for a particular building. Based on the turnout at community information meetings held in the past year, when people were invited to learn about or weigh in on the district’s needs, no one will have trouble finding a seat if they attend one of the meetings.
You can go to the Great Bend USD 428 webiste, www.greatbendschools.net, and click on “Bond” at the top of the page to learn why supporters believe this is a good plan — what it will do, why it is needed and how much it will cost.
How people vote on these upcoming questions is entirely up to them. But we do encourage anyone who is eligible to vote on these issues to take time to learn more — and don’t forget to vote.