In late 2016, the USD 475 Board of Education requested that the District form a Steering Committee of diverse community members (a list of the JCHS Way Forward Steering Committee members can be found online) to answer the question, “How do we build a new school without raising the mill levy?” The goal was to collect many different views on a new high school project versus repairing the old high school. After months of research and discussion, the committee presented their findings to the Board of Education in February 2017. Their recommendation for the most fiscally responsible and long-term 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 through the district mill levy which has remained flat for the past several years (graph of mill levy included below). At the February 2017 meeting, the Board of Education approved a resolution to move forward on the committee’s suggestion of a bond election for no more than $105 million to fund a new high school on a new site.
Due to a delay in the 2017 Heavy Impact Aid payment, one of the three major milestones or checks and balances that Dr. Witt stated were needed to proceed with the project (the first of which was seeking approval of a bond election from the State of Kansas and the third is the upcoming community vote), the vote was pushed back from May 2017 to November 7, 2017. All checks and balances have been completed except for the upcoming community vote which will guide USD 475 on how the Junction City High School project proceeds. If the bond is passed JCHS would see a new building on a new piece of land to the west of town (the district is in the process of looking into land in that area, however, to maintain the integrity of the potential negotiation for it no specific address has been released). This construction would cost no more than $105 million which includes the price of the land, demolition of the current high school building, and construction of the new high school.
To vote in the upcoming election you must register prior to October 17, 2017. The vote will take place on November 7, 2017.