SMSD News: Bond 2021 – Moving forward

With gratitude, the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) is getting to work. Elements outlined in the 2021 bond proposal have now become commitments to fulfill for students, staff, and the community.

 The $264 million bond will provide updates to facilities across the district. It also will allow the district to shift funding structures to hire additional secondary teachers to better support students.

 This week, Board of Education members heard updates on the progress that is being made in support of these actions.

 Superintendent Dr. Mike Fulton reiterated, as the Board met for a workshop on February 8, 2021 that every action SMSD takes as outlined in the bond is to serve our mission. The goal is that SMSD will continue to be ranked among the finest school districts in the nation, employing exceptional educators who work in state-of-the-art facilities where learners achieve their full potential.

 Proposal is Now a Checklist

The meeting proceeded with information about how members of the public can be sure the district fulfills what was outlined in the bond proposal. Board and community members also heard a facilities update, and an update on hiring secondary teachers.

 Superintendent Fulton stated the bond proposal contains specific proposals, and is in the public domain as a way for the community to remain informed about bond progress. The bond proposal outlined to the community now exists as a checklist, he said.

 “You can go through and see what we’re doing and check things off as we go along,” Fulton added. “That’s transparency, accountability, and trusting one another in the process of getting this work done on behalf of children in our community.”

 Information about bond progress will continue to be shared at public meetings, through district communication platforms, and also will be noticed as construction is set to begin.

 Facilities Update

As Deputy Superintendent Rick Atha shared on February 8, construction is scheduled to begin on new Westwood View and John Diemer Elementary Schools this summer.

 Both buildings are in the design process and community members continue to provide input. Students, staff, parents and community members have engaged in multiple opportunities to provide ideas as part of this process.

 Justin Durbin, lead architect with Hollis + Miller, provided the Board of Education a progress update on the design process for Westwood View. Duane Cash, lead architect for Incite Design provided an update on the design process for John Diemer.

 Their presentations at the Board workshop can be viewed starting at 1:29:10 on the district’s YouTube channel.

 Update on Hiring Additional Staff

Dr. Michael Schumacher, associate superintendent of human resources,  spoke during the Board Workshop about the Strategic Plan Action Team recommendation to increase secondary staff by up to 79.5 FTE in order to better support student learning.

 He shared an outline of the two-year plan and contingencies, as previously shared at Board meetings. He also noted the district’s commitment to phasing in the adjustment of secondary teaching periods beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, as outlined in the Professional Negotiated Agreement.

 “We have the financial commitment from our community so we can address that, so it is an exciting time,” Schumacher noted. 

The district will continue to provide regular updates to the community on progress in implementing the objectives outlined in the 2021 Bond.