Capitol Update: Sen. Corson urges support of Shawnee Mission School District’s $264 million bond proposal

Democratic State Sen. Ethan Corson, District 7, said there is "no better investment our community can make than ensuring our school district remains strong for future generations." Above, Corson at the Post's candidate forum in 2020. 

Each week, we provide Shawnee Mission area legislators the opportunity to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Sen. Ethan Corson, Rep. Charlotte Esau and Rep. Stephanie Clayton, are scheduled to send updates this week.

Below is the submission from Democratic State Sen. Corson, who represents District 7.

Last week, I had the incredible honor of being sworn in to the Kansas Senate. As with other opportunities throughout my life, I know this would not have been possible without the great education I received in the Shawnee Mission School District.

Now, 20 years after my graduation, the District’s Parents as Teachers program is helping our family prepare our son to start school ready to succeed.

While there is no shortage of issues the state legislature needs to address to support public education – fully funding our public schools, restoring due process protections for teachers, and increasing the availability of quality early-childhood education programs among them – there is one thing all of us can do today to support public education in our community, and all it takes is a trip to your mailbox.

Our community is currently voting on the District’s $264 million bond proposal, and I strongly encourage you to join me in supporting it. You already received your ballot in the mail. All you need to do is complete and return your ballot by mail or to a ballot drop box. Ballots must be received at the Johnson County Election Office by noon on January 26.

The $264 million package will allow the District to undertake nearly two dozen needed renovation projects across the District, including rebuilding five elementary schools. A number of the District’s buildings are 50-years-old or older and in need of routine maintenance and repair.

Think renovating restrooms, replacing classroom furniture, upgrading heating and cooling systems and lighting in buildings, replacing roofs, and replacing and upgrading equipment at playgrounds in line with the ADA.

It will also allow for the hiring of additional secondary teachers to help our incredible teachers better serve their students. District secondary teachers currently teach six periods a day, compared to the five taught by teachers in other Johnson County districts.

The reduced workload will allow more time for lesson planning and collaboration. And by reducing the number of students per teacher, teachers will be able to provide more individualized attention to each student.

To be clear, a world-class school district requires resources. The bond package would increase property taxes by $8 per $100,000 of assessed valuation annually. However, the District currently has the lowest mill levy of all school districts in Johnson County and will continue to have a comparatively low rate.

Most importantly, there is no better investment our community can make than ensuring our school district remains strong for future generations.

Please feel free to reach out to me about this and other issues. I can be reached at (785) 414-9215 or Ethan.Corson@senate.ks.gov.

To keep you informed about my work in Topeka, I am sending out a weekly email newsletter when the Legislature is in session. You can sign-up to receive it here.

I am also hosting monthly town halls – virtually for now – at 9:00AM on the fourth Saturday of each month. Our first one is this Saturday. Sign up here to receive the Zoom link.