Andover has long been a leader in excellence as it relates to facilities, academic and athletic achievements. In 2019, the current bond payments will be paid in full and we are committed to providing facilities for our students to learn successfully. We have a history of proactive, thorough planning to meet the facility needs of our community. The district, in partnership with our community, has studied its facilities for the past year and voted Jan. 30, 2017 authorize a bond election on May 9, 2017.
The 2017 Bond Election contains two propositions: Proposition 1, which includes projects that are highest need and priority, consists of $168.8 million and results in NO bond mill rate increase. Proposition 2, which includes more innovative projects, consists of $19.805 million and would result in a 2.3 mill rate increase. The mill rate increase on a $100,000 home would be 2.3 mills - $26.45 per year, just over $2 per month.
There is the option to not do anything (which would reduce taxes), but the facilities study process brought to light that our community expects and demands excellence from our schools and doesn’t want to settle for less than the best. To meet those expectations, the BOE believed a bond issue was the logical next step.
We do not! Our capital account has a cash balance of approximately $3 million and our General Fund has a cash reserve of $1.8 million. This is basically money we have in “savings” outside of our regular operating budget, which is over $50 million annually.
Yes, all of the district’s current bond debt will be paid off in September 2019. There is approximately $13 million remaining of the current bond debt. If the bond issue passes, the issue will refinance the remaining three years of debt, add the remaining cost and stretch it out for 17 years. This bond issue will keep our bond and interest mill levy tax rate the same at 26 mills. For more details, click here.
Most of our state funding is used for our operating budget, not our bond/interest budget. Bond and interest funds (school facilities) are paid for with mostly local tax dollars generated by bond elections. Bond Issue funds can only be used for the building projects outlined in the election documents and can’t be used for operating expenses. So if the local taxpayers see fit, we can have adequate bond/interest funds while, at the same time, not have adequate state operating funds.
The current bond mill levy is 26.086 mills and our current bonds are paid off in September 2019. The decrease of mills would take place in the 2019-2020 school year if Proposition 1 did not pass.
There is a significant budget for new furniture and equipment. All new spaces should be outfitted with new furnishings and most, if not all, of any remodeled spaces, too.
The bond proposal is the result of an eleven month community engagement process led by the Facilities Steering Committee. Community meetings and surveys helped the committee mold the plan, which reflects the community’s current priorities and future dreams for their schools. Through community feedback and surveying, we heard that the community wants first rate public schools, has high expectations and is extremely supportive of the school district.
The school district and Andover community need each other in order to be successful. If we want to maintain the level of excellence our community expects, it is time to reinvest in our facilities.
One option allows us to not raise mill rates, while the other option would deliver further needed items with a slight increase in mill rates.
Proposition 1 would not raise mill rates and includes items that are necessary to address enrollment growth, future educational trends and ongoing, necessary facility repairs and replacements. Safety and security, equity across all schools and enhanced student programming, including expanded early childhood programming, are the primary goals of Proposition 1.
Proposition 2 would slightly increase mill rates (just over $2 per month on a $100,000 home) and is focused on potential partnerships with other community organizations. Proposition 2 includes items that would further enhance our already excellent system.
The district has necessary facility improvements totaling over $20 million. These include roofs, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, parking lots, concrete work, drainage issues, playground maintenance, etc.
In general numbers, for Proposition 1 ($168.8 million) about $144 million will be spent on the schools, $23 million on athletics and $2 million on support buildings. Proposition 2 ($19.805 million) about $11 million will be spent on the schools and $9 million on athletics.
At this time there has been no discussion of changing school boundaries. Because of changing demographics and future enrollment patterns, we can not rule that out, but it is the Board's intention to not change boundaries at this time.
The state will pay 24 percent of the bond/interest, under current legislation. This state participation may not be available in the future.
The current mill levy for bond & interest is 26.08. The current outstanding bonds will be paid in full Sept. 2019
Yes. Those families who live in the USD 385 district boundaries will pay the same share and tax rate that the families who live in Andover or Butler County pay. The Butler County residents only pay different county-assessed taxes, including Butler Community College tax levies.
Monies that are issued for a bond can only be used for bond projects. Any revenue from mills generated from the bond and interest levy can only be used to pay principal and interest on bond debt. Teacher salaries can only come from the school district General Fund and the Local Option Budget.
The Board of Education selected Schaefer, Johnson, Cox, Frey (SJCF) architecture firm to partner with Andover and lead this process. They have completed facility projects for Wichita USD 259, Maize USD 266, Derby USD 260 and other districts in the area.
Between four Education Specification Teams, four Planning Teams and the Steering Committee, there have been approximately 170 district staff, administration, community members and parents involved in the facilities study process.
All six of the district’s elementary schools and Andover eCademy currently have electronic access control at their main entrances.
USD 385 currently has 3. They are located at Prairie Creek, Meadowlark and Wheatland Elementary Schools.
The storm shelters that are proposed will be built structurally to fit FEMA standards. Only shelters that are built with FEMA grants/monies can be designated as “FEMA storm shelters.”
Kansas is in an earthquake zone and all constructions are designed to meet required codes. However, Kansas codes are not as stringent as codes in states like California.
The demographic study shows a “steady” growth, but nothing that would support a third high school. Over 5 years, it shows an increase of 57 students at the elementary level, 78 at the middle school level and 174 at the high school level.
Middle schools will have capacity issues in 2-3 years. Elementary schools are not projected to grow at a rate to cause concern at present. The buildings will not reach capacity in the next 5 years.
Each plan presented to the Steering Committee addresses the need for an early childhood program on the north side; options include potential additions to one of the north side elementary schools to equal early childhood enrollment at Prairie Creek Elementary.
The committee reviewed many options and decided to recommend a new Andover High School because:
With reduction in funding for schools and the student growth rate between 0.5 and 2 percent, the growth does not justify an additional high and middle school.
There are arguments for both sides.
Two to three years
In the case of new construction or remodeling, temporary parking may have to be made in the rear of the building. If a new building was placed on the current site, parking would end up behind the new building (which is the current footprint of the existing building). Phases in a remodel would be complicated and need “swing” space for kids to have class. Although we have ideas, nothing has been defined at this time.
Butler Community College has expressed an interest in vacating AHS. They would like to consolidate into one building to become more efficient.
No. Butler Community College rents the space in AHS for $180,000 a year.
In the proposed bond issue, updates to the south stadium are included. The purpose is so Andover Central High School and Andover Central Middle school could host their own activities, leaving the current district stadium for Andover High School and Andover Middle School to host their activities.
The current district stadium would have added parking lots, which would take the space of the throwing events. New space would be provided across the street (behind Andover High School) for throwing events. The enhancement of the south athletic complex would have throwing space provided. The south complex would have the 8-lane track and would be the location of district track meets.
The need for a district swimming pool was listed lower on the priority list that the Board of Education received from the Facilities Steering Committee. Rather than omit the swimming pool, CTE center and further athletic turf upgrades to district baseball and softball fields, the BOE decided to allow voters to make those decisions.
The YMCA has not expressed an interest in partnering with the district on a new pool within the next two years. They have expressed interest in discussing it after that time.
IF the bond passes May 9, projects would begin Summer 2017 after project bidding has begun.
More information about the process and the proposed bond are available on the district website at www.usd385.org/bond.