USD 475 Qualifies for Additional Heavy Impact Aid

JUNCTION CITY, KAN.  – Geary County Schools USD 475 held a press conference on October 23, 2017, at the Devin Center for Educational Support and made two large announcements related to the proposed new high school bond. The Geary County community will have the opportunity to pass this bond on November 7, 2017. If passed, USD 475 will receive 47% of the total $105 million project cost from the State of Kansas.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Corbin Witt, spoke during the press conference and outlined changes in legislation that would limit bonds from covering sports facilities unless those facilities are being replaced to address safety concerns or ADA compliance issues. Dr. Witt announced that USD 475 sought an evaluation of current district sports complexes and found that none of the existing facilities were ADA compliant. District officials decided to use the ADA compliance portion of the new legislation to provide better assurances to the community prior to the bond election. The proposed construction of a sports complex as it relates to the JCHS Way Forward is without doubt included under the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act.

More good news was announced during the press conference on Monday, as Dr. Witt informed attendees that USD 475 received a letter from the United States Department of Education stating that the district has qualified for Heavy Impact Aid once again. This means that the district now expects to receive $85 million over the next 4 years instead of 66.5 over the next 3 years.

For inquiries please contact Matthew Droge, Executive Director of Communications for Geary County Schools USD 475.

Letters received by USD 475 mentioned in this press conference are attached here.

The following Fact Sheet was included with this press release: 

The following information has been provided by the Geary County Schools USD 475 Communications Department as a supplement to the JCHS Way Forward New Information Press Conference held on Monday, October 23, 2017, at 1:00 PM.

For inquiries please contact Mat Droge, Executive Director of Communications for Geary County Schools.

 Sports Complex

  • New legislation which was implemented on July 1, 2017, limits bonds from covering sports complexes unless those complexes are improving upon ADA or safety compliance which current facilities lack.
  • USD 475 sought an evaluation of current district sports complexes and found that none of the existing facilities were ADA compliant. A letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Education outlining these findings was sent. District officials decided to use the ADA compliance portion of the new legislation in October 2017 to provide better assurances to the community prior to the bond election.
  • A letter from the Deputy Commissioner of Education was provided to Geary County Schools stating that the sports complex included in the JCHS Way Forward project “may be included in your bond and interest state aid calculation.” This inclusion is based on the current state of ADA compliance.
  • The proposed construction of a sports complex as it relates to the JCHS Way Forward is without doubt included under the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act.

Heavy Impact Aid

  • District calculations have been and will continue to be conservative in order to continue being good stewards of tax dollars.
  • The JCHS Way Forward project will require $66.5 million of Heavy Impact Aid, of which the district has already saved and invested $41.5 million.
  • USD 475 received a letter from the United States Department of Education stating that the district has qualified for Heavy Impact Aid once again. This means that the district now expects to receive $85 million over the next 4 years (instead of 66.5 over the next 3 years).
  • This additional money does not impact the bond election question posed to voters on November 7th. Voters will vote to accept the State’s 47% share of the $105 million bond.
  • District officials are currently reviewing the following potential options for the $18.5 million: reducing the amount of bond interest to be paid over the life of the bond, possibly retiring the bond in less than 25 years, other capital improvements across the district.
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