The Shawnee Mission School Board has agreed to issue $85 million in general obligation bonds to cover a variety of projects that are on the horizon in the district. The bond issue will be paid from the existing capital outlay mill levy without any tax increase.
The bond proceeds could be used for a variety of projects, including financing the purchase of approximately $20 million in new Apple computers for the district. The district also is planning for construction starting this summer to provide security upgrades at more than a dozen of the district’s schools. A rebuild of Shawanoe Elementary also is being planned.
Another project that could be financed by the bond issue is a replacement administration building. An architectural and engineering review of the closed Antioch Middle School has determined that it cannot be repurposed to house consolidated administrative services.
Superintendent Jim Hinson had said earlier that the district was investigating the possibility of combining the staff from a number of buildings into one spot to save money and improve communication. Such a move could affect McEachen, Arrowhead, Indian Creek, Broadmoor and other buildings.
Since Antioch cannot be repurposed as it sits, the next step, Hinson said, is to evaluate if using the site makes sense. That would mean razing Antioch and constructing a new building on the grounds.
More changes could be coming that could tap capital funds. A report is expected in February from a demographer the district hired to predict future enrollment trends and population shifts. That could affect construction plans as well.
The existing capital outlay tax is expected to raise more than $116 million over the next five years, which would pay off the bonds and allow the money to be tapped now. The capital funds are distinct from operating funds that pay salaries and ongoing expenses.