At the Aug. 14 USD 253 Board of Education Meeting, the board voted to move the USD 253 bond election to the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
This change was necessary due to a publication error of bond information. While this ultimately delays our timeline 60 days, the importance of ensuring that the district meets all required statutory deadlines was the deciding factor in moving the election to Nov. 5.
Given the fact that we now have an additional 75 days until the election, the district will continue to focus our efforts on providing district stakeholders with additional information regarding the upcoming bond election. Our leadership team met earlier this week to discuss ways we can provide additional information to stakeholders regarding the key components of the proposed improvements.
First, given the amount of time we have until the upcoming election, we plan to provide a more detailed outline of anticipated additions, renovations and updates that each building will be receiving. We plan to release an article each week over the next 9 - 11 weeks.
We hosted four community meetings in June and July and they were well-attended. Additionally, we plan to offer open houses at a number of our buildings. The open house concept will give stakeholders an opportunity to tour the buildings and have informal conversations about the bond issue. More information regarding dates and times will be announced in the next few weeks.
There continues to be a great deal of information regarding the bond at www.usd253.net/bond. As additional or new information becomes available, we will also post and share that information. Individual questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. I am also available to talk with you individually and am willing to speak with your group or organization.
Part of the board’s recent discussions included defining next steps for early learning. HTK Architects encouraged the board of education to explore options as it related to the existing Maynard Early Childhood Center.
In May, the board of education appointed an early learning facilities task force to study the benefits of renovating Maynard or building a new facility. The task force made the following recommendation at the July 31, 2019 board meeting:
"It is the recommendation of the Early Learning Facilities Task Force that Emporia Public Schools build a new facility for early learning. The current, $78 million bond scope of work included approximately $7.1 million dollars for renovations at Maynard. Architects estimate the cost of a new early learning facility would not exceed $9 million."
At the Aug. 14 board of education meeting, the board voted to direct district administration to work collaboratively with HTK Architects to begin discussions on including a new early learning facility as part of the proposed bond issue. I have been charged with providing options to the board regarding how to finance the potential $1.9 million difference.
The board and task force both recognize the importance of early childhood education to support our youngest learners and the KSDE Vision for Kindergarten Readiness. We plan to continue providing updates relating to an early learning facility as we approach the Nov. 5 election date.
If you have not had the opportunity to register to vote, or need more information about voting timelines and options, the information below should be helpful or feel free to contact Tammy Vopat at the County Clerk’s office at 620-341-3243.
• Voter registration closes - Tuesday, Oct. 15
• Advance mail ballot voting begins - Wednesday, Oct. 16
• Saturday voting (Flinthills Mall) - Saturday, Oct. 19
• Advance voting in office begins, mobile voting - Monday, Oct. 21
• Advance voting ends (noon) - Monday, Nov. 4
• City and school general election - Tuesday, Nov. 5
If you have not taken the opportunity to register to vote, that can be completed via the following link www.kdor.ks.gov/apps/voterreg/Default.aspx
Finally, we want to continue to encourage you to make an informed vote on Nov. 5. This is a tremendous investment in our students and should not be taken lightly. We encourage you to ask questions, visit the bond website and attend one of our open houses to fully understand the entire scope of the proposed project.