Kearney Elementary
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KSD Making Progress on Prop B Projects

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July 21, 2023, Kearney, Mo.: Our residents approved the $44 million zero-tax-rate-increase Proposition B bond issue on April 5, 2022, to fund a new long-range facilities master plan for the district. The plan called for adding elementary school classrooms to address growth in student enrollment; adding classrooms for our Early Education Center; updating school facilities to meet current and future teaching and learning needs for students; and providing safety and facility improvements across the district. 

Approval of the bond issue did not increase the district’s property tax rate. Prop B bond funds can only be used for capital improvement projects. 

Most of the Proposition B zero-tax-increase bond projects are on track and on time in Kearney School District this summer. In addition, after spending time in the winter and spring reconsidering our options and engaging with our community, KSD is moving forward with plans to add classrooms for our students by expanding our elementary schools and making significant upgrades to meet the needs of 21st-century teaching and learning.

Elementary Classrooms and 21st-Century Teaching & Learning
Projected Completion Date: Summer 2025

One of the highest priorities of Prop B was to increase classroom spaces in order to address our current elementary school enrollment and projected growth. The facilities master plan included the construction of a new, fifth elementary school. Unfortunately, KSD needed to rethink plans for a new elementary school due to some serious challenges, including supply chain shortages, inflation, rising construction costs, and enrollment trends. Public school districts across the state have yet to see enrollment recover to pre-pandemic levels. Even well-respected economic experts failed to predict these conditions and their impact on businesses, school districts and households alike.

In order to ensure that we are using taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently, KSD will be using funds from the Proposition B zero-tax-rate-increase bond to add classrooms and make updates at our four existing elementary schools rather than constructing a new school. This decision was reached in June of 2023 after an extensive public engagement process this winter and spring. 

This shift will save money otherwise needed for additional staff, plus the cost of running and maintaining an entire new building. This will also allow us to still achieve the goals of Proposition B. The original plan to add a fifth elementary school would have resulted in about 80 classrooms districtwide. The new plan to expand our current elementary schools will equal about 90 classrooms. We will be adding more teaching and learning spaces because we will be using our current buildings and staff more effectively and efficiently. 

Our architects and engineers are already working on plans to expand our current elementary schools and expect to begin that work in 2024. Prop B was also intended to help address the needs of 21st-century teaching and learning. This effort focuses on upgrading elementary school spaces to facilitate collaboration, authentic literacy and hands-on, project-based learning. These updates are critical in order to help our students prepare for the Real World Learning experiences at our secondary schools.

The preliminary plans for each school are included below. The fifth elementary school was projected to be open by the fall of 2025. We expect to remain on that same planned timeline for the classroom additions at our current elementary schools.

VIEW: Preliminary Plans for Classroom Expansion and 21st-Century Teaching & Learning Spaces

Early Education Center
Projected Completion Date: August 2023 = ON TIME AS PROMISED

Contractors are close to completing the expansion of our Early Education Center. The EEC will roughly double in size as it takes the entire building that used to be shared with KSD’s central office. This will significantly enhance our capacity to serve and support our preschool children and their families. Demand for these services has soared and we’re excited to welcome those families to a bigger and better EEC when the school year starts in August.

KHS Auditorium
Projected Completion Date: August 2023 = ON TIME AS PROMISED

The performing arts auditorium at Kearney High School first opened in 1989 and was overdue for an update. Crews are extensively renovating the space. That work includes the installation of new seating. They are also modernizing the lighting and sound wiring and equipment to meet current standards. This project will help provide outstanding experiences starting this fall for our theater, choir and band students, in addition to facilitating school- and district-wide events.

KMS Sixth-Grade Bathrooms
Projected Completion Date: August 2023 = ON TIME AS PROMISED

Our contractors are in the closing stages of adding bathrooms for sixth graders at Kearney Middle School. This project will create more equity for that wing of the building compared with the seventh-grade wing. It will help alleviate what had become a bottleneck that caused delays between classes and will improve the culture and climate in the school.

KJH Roof and Wall
Projected Completion Date: August 2023 = ON TIME AS PROMISED

Among the most critical maintenance needs identified during the facilities master planning process was the replacement of the roof at Kearney Junior High. About 75% of that project is completed and we anticipate that the remainder will be addressed before the start of classes on Aug. 22. In addition, crews have also reinforced the foundation of the building’s A Wing and repaired wall cracks. Although neither of these projects will necessarily be noticed by the general public, they are nonetheless very important in terms of being good stewards of our facilities and maintaining our infrastructure in a responsible manner.

Learn more about the Prop B zeo-tax-increase capital improvement bond at www.ksdr1.net/bond2022.

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