Education

Maize school voters approve over $100M in bonds by overwhelming majorities

Voters in the Maize school district overwhelmingly approved over $100 million in bonds.

Unofficial results from the Sedgwick County election office show the first question passed with 85 percent of the vote, and the second passed with 77 percent of the vote. Turnout was 11.6 percent, or 2,989 ballots cast from 25,873 registered voters.

“Maize USD 266 heard from voters today, and we are thrilled and grateful to our community members who have supported the $108.2 million vision to meet the needs of our rapidly growing student enrollment,” school officials said in a statement. “We are excited to jump into forming teams soon to work on these exciting projects, which will add space to address growth, make our schools safer, and provide expanded opportunities for all students.

“In the meantime, we will continue to deal with growth and crowded elementary and middle schools and provide the best learning environment for our students this school year and next school year. We intend to open our two new intermediate schools by August 2021, as new schools take about two years to design and build.”

District officials previously said there was no need to raise taxes for the $108.2 million in bonds, which will pay for the two new schools, a storm shelter, an indoor pool, an auditorium, elementary school labs, safety upgrades, high school renovations and other projects.

“With zero change to the mill levy, our community can bring about big change for our students,” USD 266 superintendent Chad Higgins previously 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 voter turnout was less than a third of the turnout when the school district last held a special election. In 2015, a mail-in ballot election saw a turnout of 37.9 percent. Voters approved $70.7 million worth of school improvements but rejected a proposal to build a $12.8 million swimming pool complex.

(FILE VIDEO) A look, mostly via a drone, at the various bond projects in the Maize school district. Hutton projects include work at the Maize South campus, Maize Early Childhood Center, Maize Middle School and Maize High School. (June 14, 2017)

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