UPDATE: Voters turn down Great Bend school district bond issue

GREAT BEND, Kan. Update Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019

Voters in the Great Bend school district Thursday night turned down an approximate $45-million bond issue.

The two-question spending plan called for the addition of storm shelters and safe entrances at each school, would have added preschools to each elementary school and moved Great Bend sixth graders to the middle school.

In response to the vote, Great Bend Schools issued the following statement:

USD 428 heard from voters today, while we may not have received the answer we hoped for, we are grateful for the community’s participation.

The goals of this bond proposal were to address the needs identified through an extensive process of community research and feedback, and those needs still exist.

USD 428 would like to thank the voters and community members who participated in this process. We would also like to thank the Board of Education, and the Facilities Master Plan Committee, who volunteered countless hours researching needs and drafting the proposal for our community.

We will continue to strive for excellence in our work to educate and prepare all students to become responsible citizens and lifelong learners.

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Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019

Voters in the Great Bend school district will soon decide on a bond issue including safety upgrades, the bond's main priority.

Some of the approximate-$45 million spending plan would go toward new storm shelters and new safe entrances where visitors have to go through offices to get inside the school.

The bond asks two questions.

"For a $100,000 home, we're talking roughly $13 a month," Great Bend Schools Superintendent Khris Thexton says.

The Great Bend Board of Education thinks that's a reasonable price for students' safety.

The first question in the bond issue would add storm shelters and safe entrances to every school. It would also add preschools to each elementary school and move Great Bend sixth graders to the middle school.

"With the times we live in, we just want to make sure that we are able to secure our students as much as possible and make sure they have a safe place to learn in," Thexton says.

The second question would add a third gym and locker room to the middle school. Great Bend mother Laura Klima says education is important before voting.

"I definitely was set on a specific answer, but then I was swayed after talking to other parents and knowing what my money is really going towards," Klima says.

If the bond passes, the Great Bend Board of Education will begin working with architects and could break ground on construction projects as soon as early next spring.

Ballots are due to the county clerk by noon Thursday (Sept. 5).