Archive for Wednesday, October 16, 2002

School Board picks new middle school location

October 16, 2002

Currently, students living in Basehor and enrolled at Basehor-Linwood Middle School make about a 10-mile trip to and from school each day.

However, if a proposed bond issue is approved by voters next year, Basehor middle school students wouldn't have as far to go.

During its meeting, Monday, Oct. 14, the Basehor-Linwood School Board announced exactly where a proposed new middle school would be located: directly across the street from Glenwood Ridge Elementary School on County Road 2.

"It's an exciting new location for the new middle school," said Cal Cormack, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent. "The board of education seriously considered a number of sites before choosing this one."

The land is a 79-acre tract and was purchased from Alma residents Bryce and Eugene Hunt.

The cost of the new land was not released and the land sale will only be completed upon a successful bond issue, school officials said.

School officials said the proposed middle school location would also benefit from a Leavenworth County road widening project, which is slated to begin in coming weeks.

"It's so well situated in terms of county importance," School board president Kerry Muehler said.

On Jan. 21, Basehor and Linwood voters will decide whether to approve a $29.9 million bond issue to pay for the construction of a new middle school and renovation to Basehor, Linwood and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools.

School district officials said the new construction is necessary because of the area's rapid growth and an influx of new students the district is going to see.

"The kids are coming," board member Pat Jeanin said. "We have to have a place for them."

Also released by school officials during the Monday night meeting were the financial implications an approved bond issue would have on voters.

According to school officials, if the existing bond issue is approved, it would cost taxpayers $97.44 per year or $8.12 per month for the owner of a $100,000 home.

And if the new bond issue is approved and combined with the remaining costs from a 1997 bond issue, Basehor and Linwood taxpayers would pay $269 per year or $22.47 per month.

The figures are based on the most recent county valuations and factor in only a 5 percent growth index, school officials said.

"It's absolutely the worst -case scenario in year one," said Don Swartz, Basehor-Linwood School District director of operations.

More education cuts on the way?

During the Monday night meeting, Cormack discussed the possibility of the state legislature further reducing per pupil education funding.

"If this happens, we anticipate there would be no staff or program cuts," Cormack said.

Instead, the superintendent listed cuts in funds such as transportation, instructional and reducing new textbook purchases.

"We can and will make it through the budget year," he said. "What we'd be doing is cutting into next year's programs."

"We're monitoring the budget much more closely than we ever have before," he added.

But it's another cut at the state level that has school officials concerned.

During last year's session, the state Legislature considered eliminating costs normally paid for by the state for new school construction.

The state usually pays for approximately one-third of the costs for successful bond issues, school officials said.

For the proposed bond issue in Basehor-Linwood, that's approximately $10 million.

"I don't anticipate (that reduction) happening, but it could happen," Cormack said.

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