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Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - May 2019
Superintendent's Message
Proposed bond issue means zero impact
on local tax levy, big changes for students



As our students break for summer and count down the days until their family vacation or when the swimming pool opens, we at Maize Schools always immediately start counting down to the first day of school. This year, another important August day has our attention: Aug. 27.

On that day, you and others in our OneMa1ze community will have the opportunity to head to the polls and weigh in on a bond issue election that is a vision for growth, safety, innovation, and opportunity. It will accommodate our rapidly growing student body, bring important additions and upgrades to our school security, and provide new and important opportunities for our students that will allow them to be successful today and in the future.

One of the biggest perks of this bond plan is that our community can provide these big changes for our students and schools with zero impact on the district's tax levy. The scenario is much like a homeowner who carefully times a much-needed home improvement project when he or she can manage it using the existing budget.

School finance can be a bit complicated and confusing, but here are some important facts to know:
  • The mill levy is the tax rate applied to assessed valuation to generate tax revenue.
  • Maize USD 266’s overall mill levy remains competitive with area districts.
  • The district has lowered taxes three out of the past four years. In 2018-19, Maize USD 266’s mill levy dropped from 60.550 to 59.790, the third annual decrease from 62.826 since 2015-16.
  • The district has saved taxpayers millions of dollars through careful bond debt management, specifically a fairly recent bond refinancing.
  • By balancing current and future bond and interest, the district would be able to assume the additional bond with zero change. Strategic planning and the refinancing of past bonds by shortening the terms allow for flexibility in the current bond scenario.

With zero change to the mill levy, our community can bring about big change for our students. These big changes for students are much-needed: Our district has grown nine percent in the past five school years, adding 600 students to our classrooms and schools. We need more space. We need upgraded safety. We need our students to have continued access to innovative education with many opportunities.

Maize Board of Education members on May 6 unanimously approved the bond plan as presented by the Facilities Committee, and I invite you to click here to see that presentation .

I imagine you may have questions about this plan and the data and needs that led to it. That's why today we are launching a new Q&A webpage full of answers . If you have an additional question, please e-mail it to facilityplanning@usd266.com .

Thank you for another fantastic year and for your support as we carefully plan for the future of our amazing district.


Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
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.
Maize Board of Education Update
Board members approve 2019-20 District Student Handbook
During its regular monthly meeting May 13, the Maize Board of Education approved the 2019-20 District Student Handbook. The new document is available on the district's website, www.usd266.com, or by clicking here.

The biggest addition to the handbook this year is the new laude system and changes for valedictorian and salutatorian requirements. The new laude system lines out for the Class of 2020 and beyond recognition for Summa Cum Laude (With Highest Honor), Magna Cum Laude (With High Honor), and Cum Laude (With Honor). Information about these programs is available on Pages 38 and 39.
Additional school board updates

  • Musical instruments: The Maize Board of Education on May 13 approved $119,669 in Capital Outlay funds to clean, maintain, and purchase additional and replacement musical instruments. Board members will review additional information in the future related to the management and funding for band and orchestra instruments.
  • Board elections: There will be four Maize Board of Education seats on the 2019 General Election ballot this fall.
Thank you, Facilities Committee team members!
Thank you to members of the district’s Facilities Committee, who have devoted time, energy, and passion through 2019.

The group met many times to study data and demographics; enrollment capacities, trends, and projections; and options for future solutions. The 41 members offered diverse perspectives and included parents, employees, and Maize Board of Education members. Maize High School students sophomore Brooklyn Blasdel, left, and junior Aenya Richards served on the committee.

During a special board meeting May 6, board members approved the committee’s proposed plan, and the district is moving forward on a bond plan that is a vision for growth, safety, innovation, and opportunity. The next step is for the district to seek approval from the state and voters on a $108.2 million bond election. Click here to learn more.
Vermillion Elementary School showcases new Girls Who Code club
new Girls Who Code club attended the May 13 school board meeting to share what they are learning under the leadership of parent volunteer
Amanda Wadsworth, whose daughters attend the school and who is a software development manager.

She said research indicates that only 18 percent of computer science majors are women and only 25 percent of computing jobs are held by women.

Nationally, Girls Who Code aims to close the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas. Mrs. Wadsworth contacted Vermillion Principal Michael Dome about bringing a club to the school. Its 16 members meet after school and learn about various aspects of code. They demonstrated videos, quizzes, and games they built on a web-based coding platform.

The school also offers a Kids Who Code club for students.
Next meeting: The Maize Board of Education meets next at 7 p.m. June 3 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. The meeting is open to the public.
District News
Current Student Registration for 2019-20 school year
A reminder to parents to please log into Skyward Family Access by May 31 and click on the "Registration 2019-20" button on the left navigation bar to register your child for the upcoming school year.

In July, parents will receive further communication regarding fees, teacher assignments and schedules, and athletic packets.

If you have questions, please contact the Enrollment Helpline at 316-350-2050 or e-mail enrollment@usd266.com for assistance. We look forward to your child learning with us in 2019-20!
Shining Stars
District honors retirees for their dedication to OneMa1ze community
On May 10, Maize USD 266 staff members gathered for the district's Spring Convocation event and honored award-winners and celebrated the careers of retirees, who collectively have devoted more than 300 years to education.

This year's retirees include Maize High School English teacher Suzanne McKaig, left, and Maize South Elementary School Library Media Specialist Kathy Killingsworth, who each spent 38 years in education. Thank you, and congratulations to all retirees!
Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff Awards
Congratulations to the most recent winners of the Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff Awards! The award celebrates Maize USD 266 support staff members for the amazing work they do for the district and its mission of connecting, learning, and leading. This award is intended for any non-teacher employee who works with Maize USD 266 students. Nominees were surprised with a recent visit from Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, at their workplaces. These four winners are the final recipients of the award in its inaugural year.
Maize Elementary School Nurse Erin Ingalls
Also pictured are Maize Elementary School Principal Kyle White,   Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chad Higgins, Health Para Linda Hermes, and Maize Elementary School Assistant Principal Lindsey Vincent.
Technology Hardware Specialist Jesse Meek
Also pictured are Director of Technology Clark Fichtl, Maize South Middle School  Assistant Principal Megan Hemmerling, Maize South Middle School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Shane Paulus, Dr. Higgins, Maize USD 266 technology staff members, and teacher A.C. Poynter, who was among those who nominated Jesse.   
Complete High School Maize, Maize Career Academy, and Educational Support Center Head Custodian Regina Jones
Also pictured are Complete High School Maize Principal Dr. Kristy Custer, Dr. Higgins, Complete Assistant Principal Michelle Hilliard, Community Liaison Michelle Bartlett representing Maize Career Academy , and Complete teachers, who nominated Regina. Complete students made the sign that reads, "We will never forget what you do for us!"
Maize High School System Secretary Roxanne Thulin
Also pictured are Maize High School Principal Dr. Chris Botts, Maize High School Assistant Principal Craig Broadbent, Maize High School Assistant Principal Kevin Frye, Dr. Higgins, Maize High School Associate Principal Sonya Tice, and Maize High colleagues, including teachers Dan Loving and Diane Moser and Attendance Administrative Assistance Amy McKay, who nominated Roxanne.
Maize Education Foundation Update
Employees, initiatives receive more than $35,000 in grant funds
The Maize Education Foundation on May 10 awarded more than $35,000 in Challenge Grants to support new programs and initiatives throughout Maize USD 266.

The Foundation is able to continue this amazing grant program thanks in part to generous donations from employees and proceeds from two annual fundraisers: the Annual Charity Golf Tournament and the Annual Spring Breakfast. A special thanks to all Spring Breakfast sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor Hutton Construction and Gold Sponsor Textron Aviation.

The names of the grants and the grant team leaders of this year's recipients are:
  • A Fresh Learning Space: Jessica Buchanan, $1,549.23
  • Lab Demonstration Camera: DeeDee Vermillion, $2,000
  • Conscious Discipline Training, Resources, and Materials: Mandy Glasse, $8,529.41
  • Calm Corners: Caitlin Hamilton, $1,350
  • Social Emotional Growth in Trauma Informed Schools: Eric Nachtigal, $10,000
  • Stop Everything and STEAM: Callie Harris (pictured nearby with, from left, Foundation Board of Directors Treasurer Sarah Kueser, board member Tyler Harrison, and President Brandon Brungardt), $11,633.97

Around School
Summer camp roundup

Maize USD 266's Online Bulletin Board is the place to go for information about upcoming events, fundraisers, and other opportunities available through the district and partner agencies.

Check it out for recently added information about an array of summer camps, including those for basketball, cheer, football, soccer, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), strength and conditioning, tennis, and volleyball.

Different camps are offered for elementary, middle, and high school-age students. Access flyers for each opportunity to learn more about date, cost, and more.
Food Service Updates
School breakfast a healthy, affordable choice

Maize USD 266 provides a nourishing, affordable breakfast option that can save parents time and keep students focused on learning -- and not their growling stomachs -- during morning classroom time.

There are three choices each school day that include donuts, cereal, breakfast pizza, and pancakes on a stick. Breakfast costs $1.80 per meal and includes a drink.

If you have any questions, please contact your child's school.
Free summer meals for children
The Summer Food Service Program, operated by the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides free breakfasts and lunches to children 18 years old and younger.

Join our team!
Interested in joining our Maize Schools team? Many openings are part-time jobs with full-time benefits, including:
  • Group health insurance 
  • Summers off 
  • Fall, Winter, and Spring break off
  • No evenings or weekends 
  • Bonuses

Click here to read three reasons to take the wheel and drive a school bus for Maize USD 266. Bus driver positions pay up to $15.25 an hour. The district also is looking for bus paras. Please call the Transportation Office at 316-722-0582 for more information.

Maize USD 266 also is looking for:

Come and work in our OneMa1ze community, supported by parents, graduates, and Maize and Northwest Wichita. This would be a great opportunity to participate in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.
#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.