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Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - July 2019
Superintendent's Message
Why an indoor swimming pool for Maize? Now is the right time for this new plan

BY DR. CHAD HIGGINS 

Greetings!

As part of our proposed bond issue, our OneMa1ze community will be asked at the polls next month to consider a plan for a venue that would house an auditorium and an indoor swimming pool. This vision would bring new opportunities for all students. It is part of many improvements the community would be able to provide without an increase to the local tax levy .

Let me be the first to assure you that this plan is much different than one you may have considered before. Four years ago, the OneMa1ze community voted against a proposed natatorium that could be set up either with nine 50-meter lanes or 18 25-yard lanes. The plan was in part to be a destination location for large-scale school and club swim competitions. The facility plan included elevated spectator seating for 750 people, lobby and concession space, and locker rooms.
 
At that time, school funding was uncertain, and not as many area schools had indoor swimming pools. Community feedback following the election was that the project vision was too big and grand.
 
While the natatorium proposition failed in June 2015, it still garnered 38 percent of voters’ support, with 3,087 voters supporting the plan.
 
In the years since, the district continues to hear feedback that interest remains in a pool for team sports, life-saving swimming instruction, special education, and wellness curriculum. Wichita USD 259 and Haysville USD 261 are among area school districts that have added indoor swimming pools to their districts, making a pool in Maize USD 266 seem more desirable, feasible, and needed for students and the community. Andover USD 385, through a recently passed bond issue, is currently constructing a pool for their students' use. In short, many parents and community members want the same amenities and opportunities for children in Maize USD 266.
 
Maize USD 266’s new vision includes an indoor pool on a smaller scale, with eight 25-yard lanes, a 55 percent decrease in size than the previous natatorium facility plan. It would include 300 seats, less than half that proposed in June 2015. The pool is planned to be similar in size to those in neighboring high schools.

The plan is supported by members of our Facilities Needs Committee of parents, students, employees, board members, and architects, who spent months studying possible options. The plan also includes zero-entry, which would be beneficial for our youngest students and those with special needs, for uses including physical therapy and meeting sensory needs. The plan also includes a dive well. Our high school swimmers have an automatic disadvantage at competitions because they are up against schools competing in diving events and earning points that our students are unable to even try to gain.

There is a safety piece involved, as well. As I mentioned in my message last month , w ithout a district swimming pool, the Maize High School and Maize South High School swim teams practice a t the Greater Wichita YMCA's northwest location. While the YMCA is a great community partner, students share practice spaces, as well as restrooms and locker rooms, with the YMCA’s membership. This does not provide the same level of safety and security that can be provided at a Maize USD 266 property and is desired for all students.

The district’s proposal also includes a new element of economic responsibility by including an indoor pool in a shared facility with an auditorium. This means that the dollars spent on parking, outdoor lighting, lobby space, restrooms, utilities, etc. can be used for multiple purposes, a cost savings to the community.
 
The auditorium would provide a venue for our growing school district and access for every student in the district for fine arts performances, events, and opportunities currently difficult to schedule. In fact, one elementary school this past school year had its school choir concert on a Saturday because there was no other availability for the high school auditoriums. The new auditorium plan includes more than 900 seats, sound and light, and will have similar features as our two high school auditoriums. Adding a third auditorium will allow the district to expand fine arts opportunities for all students while extending the life span of all three spaces.

I encourage you to visit www.usd266.com/bond for additional information about the bond issue.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Maize USD 266.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
chiggins@usd266.com

Proposed schematic of the auditorium/indoor pool facility
Are you registered to vote?

If you live in the Maize USD 266 boundaries and the city of Wichita and are qualified to vote in the Aug. 6 Primary Election, your deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 27 Maize USD 266 bond issue election is July 16. The Primary Election includes the Wichita mayoral race.

For other residents living in the Maize USD 266 boundaries, the deadline to register to vote in the bond election is Aug. 6.

For those interested in casting a ballot, make sure you are registered to vote. (You can click here to check.) If you have moved or changed your name, you must re-register. Click here for a printable voter application. You also may choose to request an Advance Voting Application from the Sedgwick County Election Office to vote by mail.

For more information, call the Sedgwick County Election Office at 316-660-7100.
Mark Your Calendar
Important dates
Please note that Maize USD 266 will have a staggered back-to-school schedule as follows:
  • Aug. 13: First day of school for kindergarten students with last names beginning with letters A through M only and all students in grades 1 through 5, 6, and 9.
  • Aug. 14: First day of school for kindergarten students with last names beginning with letters N through Z (students with last names beginning with letters A through M do not attend this day). All students in grades 1 through 12 attend.
  • Aug. 15: All students attend.
Getting back-to-school ready

Maize USD 266 looks forward to learning with your child in the upcoming 2019-20 school year. 

  • Returning students: If your child attended Maize Schools in 2018-19, please finalize student registration if you did not do so already in May. The process reopened online July 15 on Skyward Family Access. Please click here for additional information.


Please see below for helpful back-to-school links.

Have an enrollment-related question? Please call 316-350-2050 or e-mail enrollment@usd266.com, and a district representative will contact you.
Maize Board of Education Update
District part of conversation to improve safety at 37th North and Tyler

Maize Board of Education members on July 8 heard an update from Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, about conversations in the works about the intersection of 37th Street North and Tyler Road. Needs include a traffic light and improved crosswalk for added safety, given
the school-related traffic and challenges with the four-way stop.

Wichita City Council Member Bryan Frye, who represents District V and that portion of the city, attended the meeting and explained that these improvements are in the city’s plans. However, he said, traffic numbers do not warrant that to happen quite yet, and the city does not have that project in its budget right now. Conversations between Maize USD 266, the city of Wichita, the city of
Maize, and Sedgwick County have revolved around the possibility for the various entities to contribute to the cost of improvements in order to have them installed sooner than planned. Any improvements, which could cost $150,000 to $200,000 total, could happen this year and hopefully not later than August 2020. Several board members said such improvements are a necessity, not a luxury. Conversations will continue.
  • Board leadership: Board members on July 8 reelected Dr. Jeff Jarman as board president and Kate Doerksen as vice president for another year. The district thanks them for their continued service as volunteer leaders for Maize USD 266.

  • Next meeting: The Maize Board of Education meets next for its budget hearing at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 12. Its regular monthly meeting follows at 7 p.m. at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. The meetings are open to the public.
Shining Stars
Assistant Superintendent Bell honored for leadership program completion
Congratulations to Maize USD 266 Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Operations Richard Bell, pictured at center, who recently completed the Kansas Association of School Board's Business Operations Leadership Development program.

He was one of 17 public education leaders recognized in June for completing the year-long program.
Around School
Support Maize USD 266 students at annual Fill the Bus event
Maize USD 266 will join Chick-fil-A at 21st Street and Maize Road for its 7th-annual school supply drive.

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 9. The drive helps our students in need be prepared for the new school year. Thank you in advance, OneMa1ze community, for your support! 
2019 Solar Fest a community celebration with music, milestone
Thanks to everyone who participated in the June 27 Solar Fest 2019 event, which celebrated the solar project you can see at 45th and 119th streets in Maize!

Thanks in part to the generosity of donors, the 740 solar panels installed this spring and summer is one of the region's largest privately owned solar power systems and will produce enough energy to power 80 percent of the nearby Maize Career Academy. The effort is part of the Maize Solar Initiative championed by Maize High School science teacher Stan Bergkamp.
Super Story Time

On July 2, Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize Schools, was the guest reader at the annual Super Story Time event. A special thanks to  MOXI Junction  for hosting.
Helpful Back-to-School Links
Check out these Maize USD 266 resources to help you this 2019-20 school year!
Fee payment-related links:
Maize Education Foundation Update
Choose your way to help make the Annual Golf Tournament a success
The Maize Education Foundation 2019 Annual Golf Tournament presented by Hutton is just a couple of months away. Tournament committee members are shooting for a record this year and hope to raise $45,000 at the Aug. 19 event, at Reflection Ridge Golf Club in Wichita, to support the students and educators of Maize USD 266. Here are ways to help:
  • Volunteer: Help run on-course competitions.
  • Donate: Help offset the costs of hosting the tournament.
  • Sponsor: Sponsorship opportunities are still available!

Visit www.maizeeducationfoundation.org to learn more about the tournament, or contact Executive Director Travis Bloom at travis@maizeeducationfoundation.org to find out how you can help make this tournament a success!
New! Improved salaries and benefits
Job Fair 2019
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 16
Maize Middle School
4600 N. Maize Road in Maize

At Maize Schools, we believe no role is too small to make a big difference. Make one visit to the upcoming job fair event to learn about which of the more than 150 openings is right for you. Jobs include classified positions, substitute teachers, bus drivers, and paraeducators.

Some positions offer:
  • group health insurance
  • bonuses
  • summers off
  • fall, winter, and spring break off
  • no evenings or weekends
  • work schedules that match your child’s/grandchild’s school schedule
#OneMa1ze www.usd266.co m

The mission of the Maize School District
is to inspire students to discover their potential through
connecting, learning, and leading.