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Dr. Higgins: Bond issue flexibility unfolding, allowing for careful planning

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize Schools Before the exciting construction phase of our bond issue begins, we have been hard at work at Maize USD 266 planning for these important new projects. Teams of educators and staff members have been meeting with architects to study design options for our two intermediate schools and the new indoor pool-auditorium facility.

At the same time, district leaders traveled to Liberal recently to visit their school district to learn more about its recently upgraded interior and exterior school doors to provide a safer and more secure environment. Safety is a top priority for our district, and we are eager to get started on similar upgrades here. We also will expand our camera system to gain access to a more robust system with better technology and features for monitoring our campuses for the safety of our students and employees. We also plan to tackle bond-funded elementary playground surface and irrigation upgrades this year.

I have shared with you before that our bond issue, in addition to funding these vital projects and others to provide for growth, safety, and opportunity in our district, also allows financial flexibility to tackle other much-needed issues. Earlier this month, the Maize Board of Education approved our Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan to continue to maintain our schools and systems to provide an ideal learning environment for our students and employees. There is about $4.3 million in work planned for this school year.

The extensive list of projects includes new classroom furniture at Maize High School and other locations, auditorium sound system upgrades at Maize South High School , and new Chromebooks to keep our devices current. We will add and/or improve sidewalks and revamp the parent pickup lane at Pray-Woodman Elementary School for increased safety and to alleviate traffic congestion before and after school. (We also will continue to evaluate potential pickup and traffic-related issues at our other schools). We have plans this year for a $1 million upgrade to the district's phone system, currently no longer supported by current technologies. We will upgrade and/or repair HVAC, chillers, and other units throughout the district. We value fiscal responsibility and careful planning, and we are well-poised to make needed upgrades now to keep our district functioning safely and efficiently inside and outside of the classroom.

Speaking of the future of the district, I urge you to please participate in the Nov. 5 General Election next week. The election includes four nonpartisan Maize Board of Education races. The leadership of our volunteer school board members is integral to the future of our students, schools, and district. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
chiggins@usd266.com