District News

Kings BOE Votes to Place Bond Issue on November Ballot

Posted on: June 21, 2019

Due to growing enrollment and the need for additional space, the Kings Board of Education voted to place a 4.96 mill bond issue on the November 5, 2019 ballot for the purpose of new construction, site acquisition, improvements, renovations, and additions to school facilities that are outlined in the Final Facilities Master Plan. The 4.96 mill bond issue would secure the issue of bonds in the amount of $89.975 million dollars.

The Kings Final Master Facilities Plan was presented to the Board of Education after two years of studying options developed by a Long Range Planning Team consisting of community members, staff, and administrators. The architecture firm, SHP Leading Design, worked with the Long Range Planning Team to help develop the plan.  The plan was also guided by community input from three Thought Exchange surveys which had over 3,000 people participate. The Board approved this Master Plan at their March 19 regular business meeting as a formal guide for the district’s facility work going forward. Kings Board of Education President, Peggy Phillips said, “The bond issue will help the district manage growth in our student enrollment while continuing the academic focus of preparing students for their future.”

Over twenty iterations of the plan took place before a final plan was complete. The forefront of the plan was to address the increasing enrollment numbers in the District. In the last five years, the District has seen an increase of nearly 500 students. Over the next 8 years, enrollment in the Kings District is projected to surpass 5,000 students and that would be almost double the enrollment in 1991, thus creating an issue of building capacity in many of our school buildings.

The Final Master Plan scope of work includes adding 24 new classrooms, expanding the cafeteria, and adding a new auditorium and gymnasium at Kings High School; Demolishing the current Kings Junior High School and building a new 3-story grades 6-8 middle school, which will significantly increase the amount of parking available on the campus and improve the flow of traffic during busy times; Converting all elementaries to grades K-3; adding a two-story addition to J.F. Burns Elementary with renovations to the current building, including separating parent and staff parking from the bus drop off area; adding 6 classrooms to Columbia Intermediate School and converting to a grades 4-5 building; and relocating the bus garage to land on Mason Morrow Millgrove Road.

A significant factor in the plan was the availability and cost of land for additional building sites.  The remaining sites in the District that could support a new school building cost upwards of $5-10M for acquisition and the development costs and could have run even higher based on topography.  As a result, the process led the Team to conclude that reorganizing and repurposing the District’s existing sites was an affordable and desirable option.

The Master Plan project will cost the taxpayer approximately $15 per month for every $100,000 of true property value. In recognizing the importance of fiscal responsibility, the Kings Board of Education voted two different times this year to reduce the bond millage to the taxpayers of the District.  This nets a 1.6 mill millage drop for all residents in the Kings District. In fact, residents in the Kings District are now paying 1.6 mills less than they were paying in 2018. The Board was able to do this due to the increasing property values in the district.

Provided the bond is approved by the Kings Local School District voters, the design process will begin immediately and will take 12-18 months utilizing staff and community feedback into the design of the new buildings. It will take another 12-24 months to complete the construction process which means that the project will be complete by the 2023-2024 school year.

“Due to growing enrollment, we feel it is vital for the long term health of the district to provide the space needed for our students and to meet the needs of the community,” stated Tim Ackermann, Superintendent.

If the District continues to grow, a master plan phase 2 will be considered that consists of potential needs that were discussed during this Master planning process. For more information visit www.kingslocal.net.