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Wichita school board approves bond project for Kelly Elementary

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Sep. 10, 2012, at 9:07 p.m.

Kelly Elementary School in south Wichita will get a $1.6 million addition and renovation, including a new cafeteria, kitchen, kindergarten restrooms and expanded library.

Wichita school board members on Monday approved the contract with SBA Construction Co. for the project, part of the $370 million bond issue approved by voters in 2008.

Kelly was built in 1957 and expanded in 1959, said Kenton Cox, an architect with Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, the district’s bond manager. The school got a new multipurpose room, classrooms and one of the district’s first storm shelters as part of the 2000 bond issue, but space is still “very inadequate,” Cox said.

The new project is expected to be complete by August 2013.

Also on Monday, board members approved more than $557,000 in contracts with six outside agencies for special education services. The largest of the contracts, with Heartspring, is for nearly $213,000 “to provide special education services for up to three students” for the 2012-13 school year.

Board vice president Jeff Davis voted against the measures, which passed 5-1 without discussion as part of the board’s consent agenda. Board member Barbara Fuller was absent.

After the meeting, Davis said, “I’m not a supporter of the money we spend outside the district” for special education services.

“I understand the reason, and I think Neil (Guthrie, director of special education) does a great job. I just really have a problem outsourcing so much instead of maybe looking at ways we could provide those services,” Davis said.

In addition to the Heartspring contract, the board approved these expenditures: $72,000 to Envision Industries Inc. for up to five students; $98,000 to Kansas Elks Training Center for the Handicapped (KETCH) for six students; $56,500 to Starkey Inc. for four students; $71,300 to ResCare Kansas Inc. Life Choices for four students; and $47,100 to the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation for up to 30 students.

The Heartspring services would be for students with severe autism or other severe disabilities. All the special education services noted in the contracts Monday are mandated by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and state guidelines.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com.

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