The SMSD Live community conversation held December 3, 2020 featured panelists from the community discussing the $264 million bond that voters in Shawnee Mission will be voting on in January 2021 by a mail-in ballot.
The event answered questions such as:
· Why is a bond election being held?
· Why is a bond election being held now?
· Will there be any changes to the bond that will take in to account what we’re learning from the pandemic?
· How were the buildings selected for rebuild determined?
The event (Starting at 9:46) can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/QKuIX5mnUjw
· Dr. Brittney Gonser, Rhein Benninghoven Elementary Principal
· Amber Pagan, Nieman Elementary Pre-K teacher
· Diana Weeks-Radke, Diemer PTA President
· Anthony Springfield, community member and SM Education Foundation past president
· Dr. Mike Fulton, SMSD Superintendent
Dr. Fulton reviewed and laid out preliminary plans regarding the five elementary rebuilds, sharing decisions for the order of the rebuilds being made to accommodate students in other facilities during their school’s construction.
Weeks-Radke, whose children attend John Diemer, a school that could potentially be rebuilt asked, “What was the impact the new school had on the learning environment, and new opportunities it provided?” Gonser spoke from her experience, “The flexibility we now have with our spaces is incredible, providing so many spaces for students and teachers to create and design instruction, offering much more innovation.”
The live event accepted questions from the community via text and email. A common question asked why the bond election was being held now. Community members are welcome to submit their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Fulton shared that the bond has actually been in the study and planning process for at least five years as the district began to identify future needs.
“In the Strategic Plan we identified what those facility needs would be to make sure SMSD says strong for its future,” Fulton added. “We also looked at our staffing needs long term. Having this bond pass allows us to do all of our new construction for facilities out of our bond issue.” This move will allow the district to shift some custodial/maintenance salaries into the capital fund. This frees up money in the operating fund to hire additional secondary teachers in order to better support student learning.