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Tuesday to determine USD 506 school bond - KOAM TV 7

Tuesday to determine USD 506 school bond

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ALTAMONT, KANSAS -

Daylight shines through cracks in the theater department at Labette County High School, accompanying molding walls and a musty smell when it rains.

Tuesday, voters in the largest school district in Labette County, USD 506, will determine the outcome of a proposed $23.9 million school bond. The "citizen driven effort" has been in the works for the last three years. Should it pass, the state would contribute 41 cents on the dollar according to superintendent Dr. John Wyrick.

"Our kids deserve to have the best facilities, and they deserve it right now. They don't deserve it a year from now or two years from now, they deserve what we can provide them from today until the time they graduate. So it's not all about money and it's not about the 41 cents on the dollar because we are going to educate our kids," Wyrick said.

The bond will have to pass by simple majority.

"Whether this bond passes or fails, I can promise you this: on that next day on Wednesday, April 6th, the doors will open, our kids will be in class, and our teachers will provide them with the best education possible," Wyrick said.

USD 506 encompasses 500 square miles of the 570 square miles in Labette County. Many of the kids attending school there are fourth or fifth generation Grizzly grads.

"Sometimes I think my kids have to suffer a little bit, because they are looking around at you know, mold or cracks or things like that just is not pleasant to look at," theater director Heather Wilson said.

Should the bond pass, renovations to the theater building would be made, as well as updates to the theater itself which has not been renovated since 1958, when it was considered state-of-the-art.

"We have carpet in here that hasn't been replaced since the building was built. So as you walk around you look at the seats then over here at the doors. Just this week when it rained, we had water coming in and this pit down here had water in it and we have towels down in the pit," Wyrick said.

Electrical cords and props were down in the pit and had to be moved with the rain waters for safety reasons. Along with the theater, "safe rooms" would be installed at each of the county's six schools. Currently, only one "safe room" exists and is located at the high school, but it includes windows and a deteriorating quality.

"We're a little bit behind on some of that stuff, some of our plumbing and electrical is outdated. Some of the mechanical items here are a little outdated too. So to keep the building sound and last another 25 years, we do need to do some things like this," facilities director Mike Starr said.

There are 5200 registered voters in the district. School officials are hoping for a "huge" voter turnout.

"The majority of our heating and air conditioning units were installed back in the 70's, so we've got great efficiency and use out of them but safety, security, upgrades and just providing our kids with an optimal learning environment for the next 20-25 years that's what our hope is and that's what we set out to do three years ago when we first started the conversation about how can we improve the classroom space for the kids attending school here at USD 506 for the next 20 years," Wyrick said.


 

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