The Riley County school district wants to put an up-to-$15 million bond issue before voters this November.
Last month, the board approved district administrators’ proposal for the $15 million bond to repair and improve the district’s elementary and high school buildings.
However, school bond initiatives need to be cleared by the Kansas State Board of Education before they can be posed to voters. The school district will present the bond proposal to the board in August, and with approval at that meeting, the district would prepare for a November ballot question.
With the bond, the district would build onto the grade school to bring students into the main building from three modular classrooms that administrators said are deteriorating, as well as build a new gymnasium that would also function as a storm shelter.
“With close-to-500 kids and close-to-100 staff, we need a fair amount of space, and we don’t have anything right now that would meet the criteria for a storm shelter,” superintendent Cliff Williams said.
The district would also make security improvements at the schools, with improved, monitored entries at the schools. Williams said school security has been a priority for the district’s parents, and the district completed a $10,000 project this summer to better monitor and control traffic between the high school’s main building and two auxiliary buildings behind the school.
The district would use a property tax increase to pay for the bond.
The bond proposal comes after voters rejected a $22.5 million bond question in 2016, which would have gone towards infrastructure improvements at Riley County High School.
Williams, who was hired shortly after the 2016 bond question, said this bond initiative also includes several similar items in terms of building maintenance — roofing, lighting, heating, and cooling repairs and improvements — compared to 2016, but he said the district has listened to community members and is taking a different approach this time.
“Our patrons didn’t feel like we listened as well as we could have, so we’re doing a lot more surveys and putting information in the paper,” Williams said. “These are the community schools, and we want (community members) to feel good about them and what we’re trying to do, which is a big financial decision for the community.”