Derby voters to decide on school bond issue

Voters in Derby will decide on a $123-million school bond this month. That bond could result in a brand new elementary school, the closing of another, and millions of dollars in upgrades to athletic facilities.

Oaklawn Elementary is one school that would see improvements. It would receive $11-million dollars in upgrades, including renovating the cafeteria.

Parts of that school, including the classrooms, were built in the 1950s.

It's just one of twelve schools involved in the bond issues.

When voters head to the polls, they'll see three questions.

The first question includes building a new elementary school on Derby's north side to reduce overcrowding at Derby Hills Elementary.

Pleasantview Elementary would also close to due to lack of expansion space.

Question one would also provides storm shelters for all schools, remove all portable classrooms, install secure hardware, and ensure Americans with Disabilities Act ADA) accessibility throughout the district.

Question two focuses on adding expansions for physical education and extracurricular activities at Derby High.

Question three would add upgrades to athletic facilities like turf fields and lighting improvements.

The questions build off of each another, meaning the academic improvements in the first question must pass in order for questions two and three to be considered.

School officials hope voters see the need for the bond.

"I have to take into account that if the bond were not to pass, I have a number of large issues," said Derby Schools Director of Operations, Joe Dessenberger. "Looming issues within the district with the heating and ventilation, roofing, things like that that would be covered by the bond and if they're not, I would have to continue to put band-aids on those issues and do the best I can with the money we do have."

Dessenberger says if the bond does not pass, the district would need to go back and work with the community on what aspects caused it to fail and try again.

Early Voting is underway at the Sedgwick County Election Office.

Woodlawn United Methodist Church and Greenwich Road Church of God are both open for voting Thursday and Friday from noon until 7:00 p.m. and again on Saturday the 17th from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m..

The following Election Day polling places will be open on Election Day, February 20, from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.:

• Calvary Baptist Church
• Countryside Christian
• First Pentecostal Church
• Greenwich Rd Church of Christ
• Pleasantview Baptist Church
• Woodlawn United Methodist Church