Two area school districts were able to pass bond issues in 2017, continuing a wave of new construction, additions and renovations in Eastern Jackson County schools.
Here are some of those bonds and construction projects, along with some other events of note among area schools this year:
• Independence Schools received overwhelming support – nearly 85 percent – to pass a $38 million bond issue in in April. The bonds pay for a new 500-student-capacity elementary school on the city's west side, along with significant additions at Truman, Van Horn and William Chrisman high schools designed to ease overcrowding and enhance the career academy classrooms.
The new elementary school, on the land of the former Cassell Park at 31st Street and Hardy Avenue, is scheduled to open for the fall of 2019. The district also opened a second student-run store on the Square.
• Roy Moss, who had resigned less than three months earlier as superintendent Grain Valley Schools because his cancer treatments, died May 2 at the age 63. Moss had been Grain Valley's superintendent since 2009, overseeing a period of enormous growth – both in enrollment and facilities.
Former Assistant Superintendent Marc Snow, who had been designated as Moss' successor, became superintendent a few months earlier than originally intended. The district honored Moss with a retirement reception in March.
• Fort Osage Schools received voter approval in April for an $11.37 million bond issue and an operating tax levy increase of 67 cents per $100 of valuation. The bond issue pays for several additions or improvements around the district, including a new Early Childhood Center and new track and synthetic turf for the stadium.
• Dennis Carpenter, former Hickman Mills superintendent, was selected in January as the new Lee's Summit Schools superintendent. He succeeded interim superintendent David Benson after the 2016-17 school year. Benson had been the interim superintendent following the departure of embattled David McGehee in the spring of 2016.
The Lee's Summit District also celebrated the August opening of the new Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus across the street from the previous facility on the city's west side.
• Metropolitan Community College welcomed a new group chancellor, Kimberly Beatty, who started in July. Earlier in the year, the college announced it would be consolidating its athletic programs from the various campus branches beginning in the fall of 2018. The new team mascot will be the Wolves.
• Voy Spears Jr. Elementary School was named a National Blue Ribbon School, the second straight year the Blue Springs School District boasted a Blue Ribbon school.