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Kingman Norwich USD 331

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

RE: The Bond

 

Information about the upcoming bond issue can be found on the district’s website: www.knusd331.com

1. How do I vote on May 7th?

You must be registered to vote.  If you haven’t already registered to vote and would like to, click here:

 www.kdor.ks.gov/Apps/VoterReg/Default.aspx

USD 331 patrons who live in Sumner County, Harper County, Reno County and Sedgwick County will vote IN Kingman County at the nearest regular official polling place within Kingman County.  Ex) if a patron lives in Milton, they will vote in Norwich at the City Building, not in Conway Springs. 

For special elections, an average of only 16% of Kingman County voters actually vote. Make sure your voice is heard on election day, go to the polls and vote on May 7th!

2. Why now? What is the reason(s) for the district to seek a bond issue in May 2019?

Simply stated we have facilities to maintain. The needs are today and the costs will continue to rise, at roughly 4% inflation meaning if all of the issues addressed were put off, it would cost approximately $900,000 more each year they were not completed.

Other factors that make this timing advantageous include favorable interest rates which remain at historical lows while inflation will continue to drive costs upward making materials less expensive now then they will likely be in the future.

3. How were the bond budgets determined?

For well over 4 years, numerous architects, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning companies, roofers, engineers and other mechanical systems analysts have investigated concerns and issues regarding the facilities in Kingman and Norwich. A steering committee made up of community members, teachers and district administrators researched several possibilities to address the identified issues over several years.  The proposed scope of the project was narrowed over countless hours and multiple meetings.

According to building estimates, based on square footage, a cap of $24 million was established to allow the design team the ability to renovate all facilities for a dry and climate controlled environment that meets students’ needs and will position the district for continued success.

The $19,075,000 for Question 1 and $3,960,000 for Question 2 represents the total expense for design fees, building construction (materials & labor), site-development, bonding expenses, attorney fees, etc.  This is a “turn-key” amount.

4. Why are there two questions on the ballot?

The BOE voted to break out this bond into two questions to allow the community to decide exactly what amount they want to spend on these projects and to give the district patrons a choice.

Question 1 is HVAC, roofing and remodel upgrades to existing district facilities. Question 2 adds remodeling Kingman Elementary and Norwich playgrounds. Further detail can be found on the website where slides are posted. The link is http://www.knusd331.com where you can receive the following:

  1. Detail on the work to take place at each facility.
  2. budget detail on the work to take place at each facility?

5. Why is there more money being spent in Kingman, compared to Norwich?

The Norwich facility is in good shape compared to Kingman. This bond would prevent reactively funding issues from worn out roofs and HVAC systems in Kingman currently being paid by capital outlay funds. There just aren’t enough capital outlay funds to address all of the needs so those issues which require the highest need are repaired and/or replaced. Roofs alone at Kingman High School will cost $3.5 million to replace, which is 5 times the annual capital outlay annual income for all facilities and capital needs.

6. What happens if we go over or under the budgeted amount?

The $19,075,000 for Question 1 and $3,960,000 for Question 2 budgets are a “do not exceed” amount and the Kingman Norwich Board of Education will have the ultimate oversight over the project and its cost.

If the project is under budget, the board can enhance the projects in the bond or use the “left-over” funds to lessen the tax mill levy increase.

7. Does the current design address the building committee recommendations?

It addresses most of the building committee recommendations, especially in regard to student learning spaces, the least expensive alternative, and the needs, not necessarily the wants. Some items recommended by the building committee such as a new weight room were not included due to their expense.

8. Does this bond program provide a long-term solution for the district?

Like school districts across the state, USD 331 is seeking this bond to address long-term facility needs. Not unlike your own home, air conditioning, heating, plumbing, electrical, roofing and other infrastructure need to be replaced after their useful life. Commercial units and large building roofs and other infrastructure are expensive to replace and update and thus bonds need to be considered to address the needs. The last bond passed in 1999 and will be paid off April 1, 2019 about 6 months ahead of schedule.

9. Is this proposed project actually big enough? In other words, are all current and future needs being addressed for the next 20 years or are major needs being left out?

Based on economics, the BOE identified projects are what must happen now. Obviously, there are some things left off the list and the BOE is well aware those projects will need to be addressed down the road.

10. Will there be savings to the school budget with updated facilities.

Yes! We estimate there may be $300,000 per year from maintenance alone and there should be a significant utility savings as well with more efficient HVAC.

11. Where can I receive detail on the work to take place at each facility?

Details for each school and each segment (remodel, roofing, HVAC) can be found on the district’s website at www.knusd331.com.

12. Where can I receive budget detail on the work to take place at each facility?

Project cost breakdown is located at the district’s website at www.knusd331.com.

13. Are all the district buildings getting tornado and severe weather storm shelters or safe rooms?

Yes. There will be storm shelters in all three district buildings and will be tornado safe.

14. Will there be secured entries at each facility?

Yes. All facilities will require entry and check-in through the main office during the school day before entering into the main building.

15. Will the classrooms be upgraded?

Yes. Ceilings, paint, flooring and light remodeling will be completed throughout all facilities, assuming both questions are approved. Some remodeling will be removed if only question 1 is approved. At Kingman High School where the classrooms are old, too small, and not up to current teaching and learning needs will be extensively remodeled. In addition, the extensive remodeling at KHS actually allows the replacement of antiquated plumbing, electrical and HVAC to be completed in an efficient and less expensive manner. Replacing plumbing, electrical, and HVAC in currently existing walls in KHS would be difficult to accomplish. With the updates, the buildings will look new and modern.

16. Are Kingman-Norwich patrons supportive of the 7th and 8th grade students being relocated to Kingman High School?

Kingman 7th and 8th grade students currently spend part of their school day at the Kingman High school. Several of the courses 7th and 8th grade students would like to take are taught by high school staff. The BOE determined the most effective and efficient way to move forward was to move 7th and 8th grades to Kingman High School and redesign the facility to accommodate all students grades 7-12. There is adequate space. Norwich PK-12 students already reside in one building in Norwich.

17. Will Kingman High School plumbing be upgraded?

Yes. The plumbing and drain lines will be removed and replaced.

18. Why is there so much heavy renovation happening at Kingman High School?

The HVAC renovation will require major renovation. While that renovation is happening, the facility committee thought it would be best to adjust the classroom layout to best accommodate the learning environment needed in 2019 and beyond. The high school is the most structurally sound building in Kingman, but the interior layout should accommodate current needs.

19. Why are all the roofs and mechanical systems being replaced in the district?

The district has not had enough capital funds to replace roofs. The age of the roofs and the mechanical systems are either past due for replacement or nearing end of normal life and the district has been repairing leaks on from roofs and repairing or replacing HVAC units as needed. A few roofs have a few years left (less that 5 years). The most efficient use of funds is to do the roof replacements at the same time for an efficient investment. Pricing through the competitive bid process should reflect the savings. Higher efficiency HVAC units will also reduce the costs the district pays for utilities.

20. Why is part of Kingman Elementary going to be torn down?

While the part of this facility has great history and was used for generations of students, it is the most expensive part of the building to renovate. The most efficient use of funds was to shift 7th and 8th grade students to Kingman High. The high school has plenty of room to house the additional students. These students are currently bussed to and from the high school. This shift would cut costs of travel and save instructional time. The elementary school would still have more space than needed following the demolition. In order to save on utility and maintenance costs, the facility committee determined it was best to remove this portion of Kingman Elementary.

21. When Kingman low wing is demolished, what will happen to the exposed walls?

After the bond is approved, the architect will draw a plan to match the rest of the facility to cover the exposed exterior walls that remain. This will include insulation and an attractive façade. The district elected not to spend money on this design until the rest of the project design is being finalized. It will be designed to complement and match the remaining facility.

22. How long is the entire construction going to take?

Some components will be accomplished in a relative short amount of time e.g. the first summer. However, the renovations to Kingman High School will take the most time due to phasing projects in as the renovations will be made while school is in session during the school year. All parties, including the BOE, architect and construction manager, will coordinate to provide the most efficient schedule to the district with the least amount of disruption to the learning environment. Based upon anticipated scope, the range could be between 24 and 36 months.

23. Will bids be taken from all interested contractors or does the CMAR already have all of the work?

Yes. The CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) will manage the process, but all of the work will be competitively bid.

24. What is the tax impact associated with this bond issue?

Question 1 is a 9.50 mill increase. For a $75,000 home this will be a net tax increase of ~$6.83 per month.

Question 2 is a 3.29 mill increase. For a $75,000 home this will be a net tax increase of ~$2.36 per month.

If both questions pass it would be a 12.79 mill increase. For a $75,000 home this would be a total net tax increase of ~$9.19 per month.

25. Are assessed valuations such as agriculture land trending up or down?

While land has had slight depreciation in recent years, historically it is trending upward. Like all markets, there are peaks and valleys, but our research shows a long-term increase in valuations.

26. There are a lot of people on fixed income in this district/town/community. How can they be expected to support this?

Everyone has to make their own individual decisions on what they can afford. This is the reason the Board split the bond issue into two questions. It is also the reason the BOE is recommending no more than $24 million in improvements even though there are several additional needs they don’t feel the community can afford at this time.

27. How much state aid will Kingman Norwich obtain and will this same amount be available in the future?

Our current bond debt is receiving 35% state aid.

Bonds passed after July 1, 2016 had this number reduced by the state legislature.  If this May 2019 bond issue passes, we will receive 10% state aid.  The estimated state aid benefit of this bond issue is $5,359,500.  There is no guarantee this state aid will be available in the coming years and current state aid fluctuates as the wealth of districts change state-wide.

28. Will this new facility increase property values in the Kingman Norwich district?

Public purpose projects are exempt from property taxation, so this new facility will not add to the tax base; however, it is widely accepted that modern, functional schools attract new families and companies or individuals to a community that buy or build houses and businesses which do add to the tax base.  Modern schools will not directly increase property values, but indirectly it will add to the tax base.

29. What are the enrollment numbers across the district looking like?

Norwich’s numbers are holding relatively steady while Kingman’s numbers have declined over the past decade. That is one reason the Board is trying to reduce the footprint in Kingman to be more efficient.

30. Does the BOE support the Bond?

Yes. The Board voted unanimously in December to pass a resolution to apply for available bonds through the Kansas State Department of Education and were approved by the Kansas State Board of Education. The Board are behind the scope and cost 100%. They also believe both questions should pass. On February 11th, the Board voted 6-1 for final development of the bond election questions. The vote was related to whether the bond should be split into two questions, not if they support the bond. One Board member favored only one question that addressed all of the needs.

31. Is there a “Plan B” if this fails?

No. The BOE realizes all of the work is needed and necessary.

32. Will there be another bond issue in 20 years?

More than likely, yes. Most school districts have bond debt they are repaying.

33. Are we replacing all HVAC at Norwich?

No, the HVAC units that are in good condition will not be replaced.  Some VRF units at Norwich are only a little over a year old. A lot of RTU’s at Norwich have failed over the past 5-8 years.  Those units worked well beyond their expected service life but did finally need to be replaced.  They have been replaced with much higher efficiency units.  The Norwich HVAC Scope of work areas shown in red are not intended to be replaced.  (click here)