A special election will be held next week for the Maize School District. The district is asking voters to approve a $108.2 million bond issue that is split into two questions.
The first question is for the construction of two intermediate schools that would house fifth and sixth grades; districtwide safety and security improvements; and upgrades to Maize High and Maize South High schools. The projects would cost about $79 million.
Superintendent Chad Higgins says the district is growing fast and elementary and middle schools are running out of room. He says the new schools would each accommodate up to a thousand students and would meet current and future space needs.
“We want to build those so they can be expanded or be future elementary schools ... as enrollment changes down the road,” Higgins says.
The district’s five elementary schools are currently at 91 percent capacity, and its two middle schools are at 90 percent capacity.
The second question is for a new complex to house a 950-seat auditorium and an indoor swimming pool. It would also upgrade outdoor playgrounds and add new indoor STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math) labs for elementary schools. The projects would cost about $29 million.
Higgins says the two high school auditoriums no longer meet the district’s needs.
“They are used constantly," he says. "It’s a real struggle for our elementary and middle school music programs, fine arts programs to get in there and use those for practice and concerts and so forth."
About 7,840 students are enrolled in the district’s 11 schools.
Higgins says the bond proposals do not affect the district’s tax levy rate, so taxpayers won’t see an increase if the questions are approved.
The election is Aug. 27. Early voting is available at the Sedgwick County Election Office in downtown Wichita through Monday, Aug. 26. A satellite voting site at Maize City Hall is open Aug. 22-24.