USD 329 students, staff discuss need for bond

Heather Baker, Sophia Castillo | staff writers 

There are a lot of mixed opinions in the community about the upcoming bond election. But among students and staff, most agree that the current state of the buildings is unacceptable.

The Charger asked several students and teachers about their priorities if the bond passes.

Math teacher Roger Alderman said the state of the buildings call for renovation and rebuilding. “Although it (the school) looks pretty on the outside there are a lot of problems inside.”

In just the high school buildings, there are issues from leaky roofs to serious safety concerns. “It’d be nice to have a way to shut off the gas outside of my classroom,” science teacher Lisa Hull said, “and I’m pretty sure only Mrs. Miller and I know how to shut it off in the classroom, so if there was a fire and one of us was gone, we’d be out of luck.” 

Art teacher Brianna Guinn shared her own experience with a bond in another community. “At Tonganoxie, they had a bond fail. They had to bring in two double-wide trailers to teach their kids. The school was built when the community was tiny, and it’s not tiny anymore. Eventually, they did get a bond to pass. They had to rebuild the elementary, middle school, and high school. But now, it’s the pride of the town. People can drive past it and be proud of their nice new school.” 

Guinn supports the USD 329 bond. “It’s a common problem across the state. Nobody wants their taxes raised, but the longer we wait, the higher they’ll get.” She also referred to this bond issue and USD 329 in general as a leaky roof. “Do we want to wait until we fix the whole roof, or fix it before it gets that bad?”

In ag science teacher Danny Davis’ building there are some definite renovations to be made. The roof leaks and his bathroom needs to be redone. Davis also hopes to get better welding stations, indoor metal storage, bigger and more secure tool storage, a bigger classroom with an updated look and more electrical outlets. 

He also voiced that “The first thing you walk in should be the classroom, not the shop. If someone wants to talk to me they shouldn’t have to walk through the shop to get to my classroom.” Students walking through the shop is a safety concern because other students could be welding or working with other dangerous tools. 

While academics are the primary focus, activities could also benefit from facility updates. “It’d be nice to have a place to practice wrestling,” assistant wrestling coach Jason Miller said. “There’s not enough room in my classroom to train twenty plus boys and girls to wrestle.” 

Another benefit of the bond would be the addition of locker rooms near the football field. “We have nowhere to meet before games or at half,” coach Jess Rutledge said. “We can’t store equipment and the team has to use the same bathroom as the fans. We have no way to get out of weather as it gets colder, and after games, players have to walk through traffic after dark to get back to the high school.” The locker rooms would also benefit cross country and track as it would provide a secure space near practices.

While some of these issues aren’t directly addressed in the bond, the school board has discussed the possibility that they might be fixed with money saved from having all of the students in one location. 

Juniors Alexus Ford and Kadence Guinn voiced support for the bond. “It would be a good step forward for the next generation. Even if nothing is done while we’re in highschool.”

Senior Olivia Mayer shared a similar viewpoint. “I plan on staying in the area after high school, so it’d be nice for my future kids to have a safe and high-quality learning environment.”

Pictured above: A yard sign near the school shows support for the bond. The sign reads “AN INVESTMENT NOW SECURES THE FUTURE & OUR CHARGER PRIDE LEGACY.” Photo by Kennedy Weisshaar.

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