Maize schools want $100M for new schools, pool, auditorium and safety upgrades

Voters in the Maize public school district will take to the polls next week whether or not to approve over $100 million in bonds.

District officials say there is no need to raise taxes for the bonds, which would pay for two new schools, a storm shelter, an indoor pool, an auditorium, elementary school labs, safety upgrades and other projects. The $108.2 million bond election is split into two questions for voters on Aug. 27.

“With zero change to the mill levy, our community can bring about big change for our students,” USD 266 superintendent Chad Higgins said in a statement on the district’s website. “These big changes for students are much-needed: Our district has grown nine percent in the past five school years, adding 600 students to our classrooms and schools. We need more space. We need upgraded safety. We need our students to have continued access to innovative education with many opportunities.”

The bond would pay for building two new intermediate education centers for fifth- and sixth-grade students. The district’s five elementary schools and two middle schools are already running at or above 90 percent capacity, the district said. The new schools are part of the first question on the ballot.

Also included in the first question are upgrades to Maize High School and Maize South High School, and a storm shelter at Complete High School Maize. Safety improvements are also part of the question and include secure access monitoring, cameras and secure classroom doors. The total cost of the first question is $79.5 million.

The enrollment growth also necessitates a new indoor pool and auditorium, the district said. They are part of question two, which has a total cost of $28.7 million.

With a new indoor pool, the district would plan to host swim meets on campus and start a swimming curriculum for young students. The auditorium would provide middle schools students with a performance space that’s better than a school cafeteria. Also included in the second question are elementary school labs for science, technology, engineering, arts and math and outdoor playgrounds.

“One of the biggest perks of this bond plan is that our community can provide these big changes for our students and schools with zero impact on the district’s tax levy,” Higgins said. “The scenario is much like a homeowner who carefully times a much-needed home improvement project when he or she can manage it using the existing budget.”