These important conversations have already started, and they will continue to occur over the next couple of years leading to a sixth grade transition. A process will be developed to transition sixth grade (and potentially other) teachers from elementary to middle school. This may include a sixth grade teacher who wants to move to middle school but could also include other elementary staff who would like to make this transition. It is important to note that this would not involve an overall reduction in staff, so no elementary teachers would lose their jobs. Please know that these important decisions are in no way finalized and will continue collaboratively if the bond issue is approved.
Yes. Since we will have four middle schools instead of three we will have to adjust boundaries at the middle school level before the 2022-23 year. We do not anticipate any changes to the current high school boundaries. Plans call for the school district to follow its previous boundary study processes with opportunities for engagement and feedback from parents and community members. As always, school staff will work closely with students and families to ensure a smooth transition for students moving to a new school.
- We know our school district population is projected to grow by 1,500 students in the next 10 years. The transition to middle school not only creates new learning opportunities for sixth graders, it provides capacity at the elementary level.
- The middle school transition will give sixth graders opportunities to engage in more electives and an advanced curriculum tailored to their needs. It would also allow educators to give sixth graders more attention and support during a crucial developmental stage.
- Without sixth grade in the elementary schools, there will be flexibility around lunch schedules which will allow kindergarten to eat later in the day, as well as more resources for all grade levels at our elementary schools.
- Additional space also creates opportunities for specialized programs such as art, music, physical education and special education, as well as space for collaboration, STEM activities and project-based learning at the elementary level.
- The middle school transition recommendation stemmed from a middle school design process action team formed during Phase II of the CFMP process. That team was made up of teachers, support staff, counselors, administrators, parents and community members.
The components of the proposed no tax rate increase bond issues are as follows:
Additional safety and security upgrades at all LSR7 schools
This item includes surveillance cameras, an upgraded access control system and a new hard keying system for all LSR7 schools, as well as uniform playground fencing. Approximate cost: $3 million.
Construction of a new approximately 1,200-student middle school
The district’s fourth middle school, part of a district plan to move sixth grade to middle school, will be located on land currently owned by the district and located near SE Bailey Road and SE Ranson Road in southeastern Lee’s Summit. If the bond is approved, sixth-graders will transition from the elementary schools into middle schools renovated to serve sixth through eighth grades starting in 2022-23. Approximate cost: $72 million.
Renovations and additions at Lee’s Summit High School
This item would provide additions and renovations to the high school’s western exterior as well as a new southern facade facing Highway 50. It would construct a new central “spine,” including a centralized library, to connect buildings on this sprawling campus, which is roughly 380,000 square feet. The improvements are also designed to provide parity between the district’s original high school and the two more recently constructed schools. This item also includes:
- More than 60,000 square feet of new construction
- Light to heavy interior renovations for instructional and public spaces
- New innovative learning spaces
- Mechanical, electrical, roofing and sewer upgrades
Approximate cost: $80 million.
Renovations at the district’s existing three middle schools
This item will help LSR7’s three existing middle schools support sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade in the future. This transition was recommended by team of LSR7 staff, parents, students and community members last year following a comprehensive study. The team’s recommendation focused on additional learning and engagement opportunities for sixth-graders including elective and exploratory courses as well as co-curricular activities. With the transition to middle-school programming, educators will provide these young adolescents with more social-emotional support during this crucial development stage as well as enhanced academic opportunities. Moving sixth-graders will also give elementary schools additional capacity for anticipated enrollment growth and expanded programming. Approximate cost: $25 million.
Pleasant Lea Middle School, $11.8 million, (New entry, interior renovations, music and art addition)
Bernard Campbell Middle School, $8.2 million (Music addition/minor interior renovation)
Summit Lakes Middle School, $5 million (Music addition/minor interior renovation)
Expansion and renovation of Mason Elementary School
This item includes an addition and interior renovations, including a new entryway, at Mason Elementary. Mason Elementary’s original section was built in 1942, and the school is under-sized when compared to the district’s elementary standard. It is already over capacity, and enrollment is projected to continue to grow. Approximate cost: $16 million.
A second LSR7 early education center
This item would renovate the north side of Prairie View Elementary, the district’s largest elementary school, into a second early education center. This item would allow the district to serve LSR7’s youngest learners, particularly those who are on a waiting list for Great Beginnings Early Education Center, and provide a centralized home for satellite early education programs.
Approximate cost: $9 million.
Activity/athletic facility renovations at all three high schools
This item includes stadium upgrades, including bleacher expansion, entry improvements and pressbox expansions, at all three high schools. It also provides for track resurfacing and turf replacement for all three high schools. Turf replacement and track resurfacing are maintenance items to support all who use these facilities. The track and turf are at the end of a 10-year life cycle. Stadium improvements at all three schools would address access and entry points as well as crowd control. This item also includes a baseball/softball complex for LSHS in order to provide parity with other high school facilities. LSHS baseball and softball teams currently practice and play their games off-site at Legacy Park. The school’s new baseball/softball complex would be located at the fourth middle school. Approximate cost: $19 million.
If the bond issue is not approved, would taxpayers see an immediate decline in their property taxes?
No. Only after all current bonds are repaid and the district does not issue new bonds upon voter approval would the debt service tax rate would then change and go to zero. Regardless of whether the bond issue passes or fails, the debt service tax rate will remain $1.07 after this election and have no impact on property taxes. Because this no tax rate bond issue represents an extension of the current debt service tax rate (which has stayed at $1.07 per $100 assessed valuation since 1999) and earlier this year the district lowered its operating tax rate by $0.55, any increase in taxes a voter might see after this election would be related to increases in property tax assessments.
Jackson County determines property tax assessments based on home values. Because school tax rates are tied to county-conducted property tax assessments, the dollars a citizen pays in school taxes can go up when a home value increases even when the district’s tax rates decrease or stay the same.
When the bond issue is sold, the exact term will be determined. Currently, we are planning on about 20 years to pay off this issue.
The last Lee’s Summit R-7 bond issue was approved in 2015 to fund the construction of the Missouri Innovation Campus as well as facility improvements at all schools. This was also a no tax rate increase bond issue.
Voter approval of the no tax rate increase bond issue requires a four-sevenths majority or 57.14 percent.
By law, bond funds are restricted to capital improvements. Money in a voter-approved bond issue may only be used for the designated projects within the bond issue. That means that staffing costs, program funding, classroom supplies and other district needs cannot be covered by a bond issue — those needs are covered by the district’s operating budget. It also means that money included in a bond issue cannot be used to make up for losses in state and local funding.