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As student enrollment numbers continue to climb, district leaders planning for future building, facilities needs

During the Maize Board of Education's Sept. 10 regular monthly meeting, Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize Schools, reviewed the district's five-year Capital Outlay Plan, which includes more than $2 million to spend. They also discussed plans to pay for relatively expensive projects and future facility needs, especially as student enrollment numbers continue to grow. The Capital Outlay Plan lists planned projects through 2021-22, including flooring improvements, restroom improvements, parking lot maintenance, water pumps and piping, buses, HVAC, and other projects.

Dr. Higgins said that administrators are being conservative on estimates. He explained that the district will not receive the same level of aid from the state for future bond issues as it has in the past. This means Maize USD 266 and other districts throughout Kansas will need to spend Capital Outlay and cash reserves to pay for athletics, offices, and/or items not specifically tied to classrooms. The district also will consider whether and when to pursue another bond issue to pay for needed facilities expansions.

Though figures won’t be official until after the Sept. 20 count day, Maize USD 266 has grown about 250 students since last year. Cohort sizes fluctuate from grade level to grade level.

Dr. Higgins also shared his plan to form and lead a Facility Planning Committee. First, he will assemble a group of administrators to review enrollment projections and class sizes. They also will consider potential options, which may include elementary school space, middle school space, or both, and study what is needed and when. At that point, Maize Board of Education members, employees, community patrons, and design and construction professionals will join to form a larger committee.

Next meeting

The Maize Board of Education meets next at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. The meeting is open to the public.