Graphic courtesy of USD 231

Graphic courtesy of USD 231

15 1217 Pam-Stranathan-Superintendent

Pam Stranathan, USD 231 superintendent provided information on the district’s proposed $29.7 million bond during a public forum Dec. 17. If approved, the bond would expand GEHS. Photos courtesy of Rick Poppitz, kcvideo.com

Rick Poppitz, kcvideo.com
Special to The Gardner News
Several USD 231 patrons attended the $29.7 million bond forum held Dec. 17 at Gardner Edgerton High School. Also in attendance were district officials and staff. This was the last in a series of several informational meetings regarding a proposed $29.7 million bond issue to expand GEHS.
Pam Stranathan, USD 231 superintendent, spent about 35 minutes explaining the details of why the high school expansion is needed and what would be included in the expansion. Among the improvements are a 28,000 square-foot Advanced Technical Center to meet the needs of students choosing a career in various state-approved technical courses.
Jeremy McFadden, director of business and finance, crunched the numbers and explained how this will be paid for and why it should be done now. He said that 30 percent of the $29.7 million will be paid by the State of Kansas.
According to the district presentation, GEHS will be over capacity very soon if nothing is done. The current building capacity is 1,600 students, and there are 1,519 students enrolled.
The expansion would add capacity for approximately 600 additional students – about 450 students in a new wing of GEHS and about 150 students at a career and technical education building. The new building would be used for things like auto classes and culinary classes.
It is estimated the bond issue would not require increasing property taxes, according to the district. Officials would use reserves to partially fund the high school expansion. McFadden’s estimates assume a bond interest rate of 4.75 percent and district wide property valuations increasing by an average of 3.5 percent annually. With the high school expansion, GEHS would not reach capacity for another six to eight years, school officials estimate
Voters have until Jan. 12, 2016 to register to vote on the bond issue on Feb. 2, 2016. Election information can also be found at jocoelection.org.
For those patrons who could not attend the forums, The Gardner News and kcvideo.com have a video of the presentation.