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WICHITA, Kansas – After months of debate, the Wichita school board decided to build a new Southeast High School, rather than renovate the current building.
The board voted Monday night to proceed with construction of a $54 million high school about six miles from the current building. It isn’t expected to open until 2016.
The project will be funded with money from a 2008 bond issue, which was originally targeted to renovating the old school and building a new one. But board members said a reduction of nearly $60 million in state aid since that bond issue passed made it difficult to operate two schools.
The old school will be used for administration offices. And the district will negotiate to bring some programs from Wichita Area Technical College to the old building.
Board members say the look forward.
“Walk into any of our new schools, and you will see the excitement and energy of our teachers and students that walk into them,” said Connie Dietz, Wichita school board member.
Activist Mary Dean and others say board members did not keep their promise of doing what is best for Wichita school children.
“You know they hoodwinked the community. They lied continuously, and I could not sit there and continue to listen to those lies,” said Mary Dean.
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