School district proposes $25 million upgrades

Scott City Middle School

SCOTT CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — In western Kansas, a small town has grown so much it has put a strain on the local schools.

Now, the Scott City district is asking for $25 million for major upgrades.

“We have to keep investing in our schools. We can’t quit,” said Scott City resident Everett Green.

Taxpayers will vote for a mill levy increase this November to pay for the upgrades.

“Naturally whenever a bond proposal is brought up and the idea of raising property taxes is put forward, it’s a concern,” said Green.

But Green, whose daughter is entering first grade, says renovating and expanding the schools is worth a tax increase.

“Most definitely, especially at the elementary school, where I know they are really pressed for classrooms and space.”

Population growth in Scott City has led to overcrowding.

“On any given day you might see a teacher doing an intervention group by sitting out in the hallway while the other students were in the classroom,” said Superintendent Jamie Rumford.

The middle school will go through some of the biggest changes. The tennis courts by the street will be moved to the far end of the field. In their place, the building will expand out to make room for third and fourth grade, which will no longer be at the elementary school.

“We’re a growing community,” said Scott City parent Tricia Goode, “and I just think it’s a necessary thing for us to continue to grow as a community and for our kids, and anything that’s going to benefit our kids, I’m all for.”

Other plans include bringing the elementary and middle school storm shelters up to code, fixing draining issues by the track, and making the bleachers handicap-accessible.

“I think anybody that has kids in school knows that it’s necessary,” said Goode.

The superintendent says the renovations would decrease the need for chronic repairs which would help lower the local option budget.

That means the total mill levy, which is now at about 58, would stay under 60.

The proposal is still being drafted but will be up for a vote in November.