JCHS Way Forward FAQ

For more information on the JCHS Way Forward visit our Additional Resources and Key Facts pages. The following Frequently Asked Questions section will provide you with many answers to questions that voters have brought up throughout the campaign.

In order to leverage state funds (which covers 47% of the total project cost), the community will need to vote to approve a bond.

To check your voter status and address click here https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do

If you haven’t already registered to vote and would like to, click here www.kdor.ks.gov/Apps/VoterReg/Default.aspx. You can also print this PDF and fill out your voter registration to be mailed in http://ks-geary.manatron.com/Portals/ks-geary/2015/voterregistration.pdf. Send voter registration to the Geary County Clerk electronically, with proof of citizenship to: rebecca.bossemeyer@gearycounty.org. Registration forms can also be mailed or hand-delivered to Geary County Clerk, 200 E 8th Street, Junction City, KS 66441 (make sure to include Proof of Citizenship).

*Proof of Citizenship (must be provided when first registering in Kansas): http://ks-geary.manatron.com/Portals/ks-geary/2015/Citizenship%20Documents.pdf

The last day to register to vote is October 17, 2017.

More information can be found at http://ks-geary.manatron.com/ElectedOffices/CountyClerk/ElectionInformation/tabid/4828/Default.aspx.

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The last day to register to vote for the upcoming bond election is October 17, 2017.

To check your voter status and address click here https://myvoteinfo.voteks.org/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do

If you haven’t already registered to vote and would like to, click here www.kdor.ks.gov/Apps/VoterReg/Default.aspx. You can also print this PDF and fill out your voter registration to be mailed in http://ks-geary.manatron.com/Portals/ks-geary/2015/voterregistration.pdf. Send voter registration to the Geary County Clerk electronically, with proof of citizenship to: rebecca.bossemeyer@gearycounty.org. Registration forms can also be mailed or hand-delivered to Geary County Clerk, 200 E 8th Street, Junction City, KS 66441 (make sure to include Proof of Citizenship).

*Proof of Citizenship (must be provided when first registering in Kansas): http://ks-geary.manatron.com/Portals/ks-geary/2015/Citizenship%20Documents.pdf

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District improvements are based on need and currently, the most need is at the current high school. Geary County Schools USD 475 has also been thrust into a unique situation which will give the community the ability to build a new high school with no direct and additional burden on the taxpayer. The Geary County Schools community may not have this same opportunity after November 7, 2017. USD 475 is one of less than 30 schools in the nation to receive Heavy Impact Aid and this year is the last year that it is likely for the district to qualify for funds from the State of Kansas in the form of a bond issue.

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The Geary County Schools Board of Education will interview and hire a Construction Manager At-Risk to manage the project if the bond is passed on November 7, 2017. There will be a bidding process for the construction of the new school.

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A steering committee made up of community members researched several possibilities over a several month period. Their recommendation for the best option for Geary County Schools students was to build a new high school on a new property. According to building estimates based on square footage, a cap of $105 million was created to allow a future design team the ability to build a new school that meets student needs and doesn’t adversely affect the taxpayer.

$105 million is a “do not exceed” amount and the district realizes that it may be possible to build a new high school for less. The Geary County Schools Board of Education will have the ultimate oversight over the project and its cost.

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USD 475 has remained good stewards of taxpayer money and currently has a large amount of heavy impact aid saved for a project of this magnitude. A bond election must be voted for in order to leverage state funds to finish this project without adding direct and additional burden to the taxpayer.

USD 475 is a separate entity from Geary County and Junction City (who are also taxing authorities and contribute to the overall mill levy). These three entities control their own mill levy and the Geary County Schools Board of Education has remained strong on not raising the district mill levy for the past several years.

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If a new high school is built the current building will be taken down. USD 475 has received no interest from potential buyers of the building and the demolition costs are included in the $105 million cap.

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A new high school funded by leveraging state and heavy impact aid funds will give the district a unique opportunity to build a new high school that the community can be proud of without causing any direct and additional burden to the taxpayer. This combination of funding sources, the willingness of the district to work with the community, and the support of the public will see a new building with no raise in the district mill levy as a direct result.

The exposure to the taxpayer is 9.62% which is spread out over 25 years. This percentage comes out of the current mill levy which taxpayers are already paying.

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Moving the freshman class to a separate building was a result of overcrowding at the current Junction City High School which would no longer be an issue at a new high school building. The current FSA building will be repurposed by the district to house programs that are currently short on space. These programs could include the Alternative School Program and Boys and Girls Club which provides care and opportunity to area children. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s research shows that young people who attend a Club regularly perform better than their peers nationally.

  • 68% of Club 12th graders volunteer at least once per month, compared with 39% of 12th graders nationally
  • 90% of Club ninth graders report abstaining from drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, compared with 77% of ninth graders nationally
  • 31% of Club girls ages 12 to 15 are physically active every day, compared with 23% of girls in the same age range nationally
  • A comparison of NYOI and National Survey on Drug Use and Health data suggests that low-income, regularly attending Club members ages 12 to 17 outperform their peers nationally on school grades. About three-quarters of these Club members report earning mostly As and Bs in school, compared with 67 percent of youth nationally

(Statistics provided by Boys and Girls Club of America)

It is thought of as best practice to combine 9, 10, 11, and 12th graders in one high school building. This concept is favored by Junction City High School and District Administration.

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Heavy impact aid is received by the district due to the large military student population. Since the residents on Fort Riley can’t be taxed the district receives this aid money to supplement. It is because of this heavy impact aid that this project is possible since these funds account for a major portion of the project.

Fort Riley remains a significant part of the regional economy and is important the Geary County Schools and the surrounding communities. When evaluating installations one of the areas of focus is educational opportunities for military families. USD 475 has a desire to continue being a great place for education for military and non-military families alike.

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A new high school has the potential to bring with it additional economic impacts. Fort Riley is the one entity that routinely brings families in and out of the area. Close to 60% of our student population is military connected. Families moving to Fort Riley have a decision to make about where to live; part of that decision is based on educational opportunities. Families also have a choice of about where they send their kids to school.

State and regional events could be held at a new facility, bringing with it revenue for hotel, restaurants, and retail.

Construction of a new school will bring in contractors who will need a place to stay and eat.

Students, much like those in a Wichita, Kansas high school, who may have left for various reasons could return once a new facility is built.

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The current Junction City High School building can’t support the technology of today because when it was built space, access, and the ability to create wireless networks within the building wasn’t taken into consideration (mainly because these technologies didn’t exist). Students and staff in the current building often experience networking issues that can be followed back to a structural cause. One example of how these challenges impact education can be seen when several students are required to charge their 1-to-1 devices in a room that does not support the number of outlets required to do so.

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Busing additional students could increase the overall cost of transportation each year, however, with a new building USD 475 would not continue to spend approximately $500,000.00 each year in maintenance and upkeep costs. The cost of transportation can only be figured after a new property has been identified which has not occurred at the time of this writing. Geary County Schools intends to have this information presented to the community prior to the November 7, 2017 bond election.

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Geary County Schools USD 475 spends approximately $500,000.00 each year to maintain the current Junction City High School. The current building has provided a place for learning in Geary County for nearly 60 years. Not only has the school provided a place for learning, but it has also become a training center for the community’s future nurses, police officers, firefighters, auto technicians, chefs, educators, welders, and more. Over half a century after its construction, providing the best education possible to Junction City area young adults now comes with facility challenges. Many of these challenges are a result of changing needs and a building which the community’s children have outgrown.

The major challenges that surround the current Junction City High School are structural and are not a result of students and staff neglecting the building.

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Currently, the design phase of this process has not yet begun. Designing the building and property surrounding it will begin after a bond election has passed. A committee of community members will be consulted during the design phase and information will be communicated to the public. This design phase will only begin if the community votes in favor of the bond.

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Currently, the design phase of this process has not yet begun. Designing the building and property surrounding it will begin after a bond election has passed and will not exceed the cap of $105 million. At the time of this writing, no plans for a sports facility have been drafted.

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Impact Aid is operational funding that we receive year after year based on the number of military-connected students within our district; of note, the State of Kansas takes 70% of our impact aid, as we are 1 of 3 equalized states in the nation.

Heavy Impact Aid (HIA) is primarily used for capital outlay projects (think one-time money). HIA funds come directly to the district, with no percentage swept by the State of Kansas. Heavy Impact Aid is given to districts who meet the following criteria:  Military student population is at least 50%  Cost per pupil is lower than the state average  Tax rate is at least 95% of the State average

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Current infrastructure challenges:

 HVAC system is comprised of three different systems which make heating and cooling the facility ineffective and inefficient. The same boiler system from 1958 is still being used.
 Safety Challenges (i.e. bleachers in both gymnasiums)
 Inadequate cafeteria for building population
 Plumbing system is aged and needs continued maintenance
 ADA Challenges such as one elevator for ADA access to certain areas of the building such as Fiffe gym, improper ramps, outdated fire alarm system
 Roof challenges
 Asbestos challenges
 Outdated data systems
 Parking
 Locked in at the current location with no room for expansion/growth.

Current educational challenges:

 JCHS operates under a Career Academy model with 11 career pathways currently being offered, but they lack the ability to fully support some of the pathways in an authentic way. They need space that is intentionally designed to meet the current and future needs of each academy.
 Duplication of educational opportunities in 2 places. (Even though FSA and the main campus are only a mile apart they run a passing bus every hour (i.e. marching band students are bused back and forth). Some staff move back and forth between facilities).
 Main office support personnel (Registrar, Bookkeeper, Data, Scholarship Services, Truancy, Nurse, and some administration) are not grouped together: some offices are in the Main building and others in the Deever building.
 Existing auditorium and stage are too small for performances respective to a 1700 student high school. There is no orchestra room at the high school
 Student busing cost and lost instructional time with staff going between the 9th grade campus and the main campus.

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A list of the JCHS Way Forward Steering Committee members can be found online.

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