Board Plans to Put Bond Proposal before Voters

March 4, 2016 ~ The Olathe Board of Education approved a resolution to place a $156 million bond election before voters this summer in an effort to address the district's growth, safety and security, technology, and aging facility needs. The decision came following a presentation by Chief Financial and Operations Officer John Hutchison at the board's March 3 regular meeting.

The board had received feedback and a recommendation from the 50-plus member Bond Task Force during a special meeting on Feb. 25. That group looked at the district's steady enrollment growth, enrollment projections, the option of building additions or changing school boundaries, ongoing safety and security needs throughout the district, additional and replacement technology equipment, and the constant aging of facilities before making their recommendation.

In addition, about 400 households were included in an independent survey to gauge support for a possible bond election. Eighty-eight percent of respondents gave the district an A or B grade for overall satisfaction, and 82 percent gave the same grade for "value received for tax dollars spent." The survey included questions about a variety of needs in the growth, safety and security, technology, and aging facility areas.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said they would favor or strongly favor a bond issue that included projects they thought were a good idea. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they would favor or strongly favor a bond issue that "included projects that you thought were a good idea and did not require a tax increase."

The bond election would include land and construction for an additional middle school and additions and renovations to a few schools to encompass a growing population; additional safety and security enhancements; additional student technology devices and updated infrastructure, audio visual equipment and telecommunications; and aging facility projects including replacements of asphalt, flooring, roofing, HVAC, gym and auditorium repairs and more. A bond of this amount would be a non-tax-increase bond election. It will be a mail-in election due June 7.

Olathe West Boundaries

Assistant Superintendent of General Administration Erin Dugan provided a boundary recommendation for Olathe West High School based on input from the Boundary Review Committee and feedback from four high school boundary forums. Dugan presented a map to the board that recommends boundaries for Olathe West. The maps can be found by going to www.olatheschools.com/olathewest. Olathe West High School will open in 2017.

The board is anticipated to make final decisions on boundaries for Olathe West at its May 5 meeting.

Recognitions:

  • The City of Olathe was recognized for its support of the district through a business partnership.
  • Arvind Subramanian of Olathe North High School earned a perfect score on the ACT exam.
  • Shulammite Lim, also of Olathe North, received a $20,000 scholarship through the H&R Block Budget Challenge.
  • Marsha Skoczek, a teacher at Olathe North, was named Earth Science Teacher of the Year by the Kansas Geological Foundation and the Kansas Earth Science Teachers Association.
  • Mike Chrostowski, Culinary Arts program instructor, was named Chef of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Chefs Association.
  • John Ernst, principal at Rolling Ridge Elementary School, was recognized as the Kansas National Distinguished Principal of the Year, an award given by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
  • Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski received the Honor Administrator Award from the Kansas Music Educators Association.
  • Josh Anderson, head speech and debate coach at Olathe Northwest High School, was named by the National Federation of High Schools as its 2015-16 Outstanding Speech/ Debate/ Theatre Educator Award for Section 5.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda of routine items including meeting minutes, reports, student trips, budget development goals and calendar, Head Start plans, facility usage rental fees, board policy revisions, policy on travel expenses, and curriculum. The facility usage rental fees will not change from 2015-16.
  • Accepted a bid to repair the bleachers at the Olathe District Activity Center.
  • Approved a bid to upgrade audio/visual equipment in the main conference rooms of the Instructional Resource Center. This is part of the 2013 bond. The current equipment has been in use since the 2005-06 school year.
  • Accepted proposals for the fundamental commissioning and systems integration at Olathe West High School.
  • Accepted bids to replace carpet at Scarborough and Walnut Grove elementary schools; Frontier Trail, Indian Trail, Pioneer and Santa Fe Trail middle schools; and Olathe East and Olathe South high schools. This is part of the 2013 bond.
  • Accepted bids to replace ceiling tiles and/or grids at Brougham, Meadow Lane and Scarborough elementary schools; Frontier Trail, Indian Trail, Pioneer Trail and Santa Fe Trail middle schools; and Olathe East, Olathe North and Olathe South high schools. This is part of the 2013 bond.
  • Approved a 5 cent-increase in adult meal prices for the 2016-17 school year.
  • Approved a student trip for members of the Olathe Northwest FIRST Tech Challenge Team.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing, and for the calling of, a bond election in the amount of $156 million.
  • Received information about future action items including high school gym LED video display boards and scoreboards; student trips; instructional materials; curriculum; Cedar Street easements; Ridgeview Road easements; audit services; health, health and safety, and nutrition work plans; infrastructure hardware bids; re-bid of instructional alignment machine for the Olathe Advanced Technical Center; concrete and asphalt repairs; and Olathe West attendance boundaries.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly report.
  • Held an executive session to consult with an attorney, discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations. The board returned from executive session to approve the human resources addendum, as presented.

The complete agenda and supporting documents can be found at http://www.boarddocs.com/ks/olathe/Board.nsf/Public .

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