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Examiner
  • Projects outlined for $20 million bond issue

  • Big changes are coming to Blue Springs schools if a $20 million bond issue is approved in April.



    The Blue Springs Board of Education voted last week to place the bond issue on the April 2 ballot. If approved, it would not raise taxes.

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  • Big changes are coming to Blue Springs schools if a $20 million bond issue is approved in April.
    The Blue Springs Board of Education voted last week to place the bond issue on the April 2 ballot. If approved, it would not raise taxes.
    Superintendent Paul Kinder said the reason for the bond issue is simple - to increase safety and security at most of the district’s schools. Although he said many might think this is a “knee-jerk reaction” to the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut last month, this has actually been in the district’s long range plan for quite some time. However, the plan was to bring this to the voters in February 2014. But after Sandy Hook, which left 26 students and teachers dead, the decision was made to push the timetable up several months.
    “We felt like it was our responsibility to bring this to the citizens now to see what they thought sooner rather than later,” he said. “We just want to make sure our schools are secure as they possibly can be.”
    Much of the bond issue, at least $14 million, will be used to make security improvements at most of the district’s elementary and middle schools. Blue Springs and Blue Springs South high schools have both undergone renovations in recent years to address safety concerns.
    At seven elementary buildings - Daniel Young, Franklin Smith, James Lewis, Sunny Pointe, Voy Spears, William Bryant and William Yates, the entrances will be changed to enhance security.
    At the four middle schools, Brittany Hill, Delta Woods, Moreland Ridge and Sunny Vale, the changes will be even more significant. These entrances will not only receive greater security measures, but the front offices will be relocated. Unlike the elementary schools where visitors are funneled through the front office before gaining access to the rest of the building, many times the offices at the middle schools are located further down the hallway. Visitors have access to common areas, cafeterias, gymnasiums and even classroom hallways before even reaching the school secretary.
    Other safety enhancements that would be funded include securing the entrance at the Blue Springs Freshman Center and enhancing the district’s communication system, among other improvements. Kinder said it is important for the community to remember that while some of the changes, such as the office relocation projects, will be easy to see, others might not.
    “A lot of projects, they (the community), will be able to tell exactly what we are doing,” he said. “But on others, we will do it and not tell anyone where we did the project. These will be the ones that are more difficult to see.”
    The remaining funds would go toward improvements to academic and instructional areas. The media center and science classrooms at the Freshman Center would be renovated and additional renovations are planned for the elementary schools. If funds remain, a new warehouse facility for the maintenance department would be constructed.
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