Derby voters OK school bond issue

Voters in the Derby school district Tuesday approved a $66.6 million bond issue that will be used to build a new middle school and make improvements and repairs in other buildings in the district.

After a campaign that generated no organized opposition to the proposal, voters approved the bonds by a margin of more than 3-to-1: 75 percent in favor, 24 percent against, according to the Sedgwick County Election Office

“The people in Derby have recognized the need and stepped up to plate,” said Larry Gould, co-chairman of a citizens group that advocated for the bond issue. “It sounds like, according to the numbers, they hit it out of the park.... It was a very strong turnout and a very strong yes vote.”

The plan calls for spending $32.5 million to build a new middle school, and $11million to renovate the existing middle school. Both schools will serve sixth through eighth grades. Derby sixth-graders have had their own school for more than a decade, and the proposal calls for demolishing the Sixth Grade Center, which includes several portable classrooms.

Other bond issue projects include:

•  $6.6 million in renovations to elementary schools. Oaklawn Elementary will get a new multipurpose room and classrooms. Derby Hills, El Paso and Swaney will get new classrooms. All will get better secured entrances, and all additions will double as storm shelters.

•  $6.3 million in roof repairs throughout the district.

•  $4.5 million in improvements to Derby High School, including new locker rooms, expanded kitchen and serving areas, orchestra space and a lobby expansion.

•  $3.4 million for an expanded and upgraded central kitchen that can prepare 6,000 meals daily. The district’s current kitchen was designed to serve about 2,000 meals a day.

The bond issue will increase the district’s mill levy by 3.4 mills, which translates to about $39 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home. The bond issue was the first in Derby since 1999.