Frequently Asked Questions
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Below are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the BOE's decision on June 24, 2013 to move the current Southeast High School to a new facility at Pawnee and 127th Street East and some of the items the BOE considered as it made its decision.

Click here for a study matrix of different factors the BOE is considering in the Pause and Study discussion.

(Q&A from here down added following community engagement opportunities) Why was there a discussion to relocate Southeast High School?
  • The discussion is based on a large cut in education funding from the State of Kansas. The 2008 bond issue called for building an addition at Southeast High School and building a new southeast quadrant high school at Pawnee and 127th Street East. However, since 2009, general fund operating dollars are $199 million lower than what state law dictates the district should have received, making it extremely difficult to operate and staff both the current Southeast and a new southeast quadrant high school.

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Can the district operate both high schools?

  • There are enough bond issue funds to support building both bond projects. However, since 2009, general fund operating dollars are $199 million lower than what state law dictates the district should have received, making it difficult to operate both schools. If the BOE chooses Option A or B, it would cost $12,000,000 to operate the school, which includes paying for teachers, supplies and equipment. If the BOE chooses Option C, it would cost $21,300,000 in yearly operating costs. The district would need an additional $10 million annually to add a new high school to the system. The district would have to make cuts elsewhere to support Option C.

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Why was the district looking at possibly purchasing more land to build the addition at Southeast?

  • The BOE studied scenarios for possibly purchasing additional property if it were to expand Southeast’s PE/Athletic facilities to make them equitable with other high schools. The district planned to purchase property as part of the 2008 bond issue, but capital equalization funding cuts at the state level have significantly impacted the capital outlay funds available for this purpose.

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What will happen to the current building?

  • The Southeast High School building will not be vacant. The district is considering potential uses for Southeast if the BOE chooses to relocate the school. One potential use would be to consolidate and relocate the district’s Administration Center and Instructional Support Center, along with the potential co-location of some Wichita Area Technical College technical education programs.

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Would there be any school boundary changes?

  • There are no boundary changes required for Option A or B. If the BOE approves Option C, school boundaries would have to change which would impact the current Southeast and East boundary areas.
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When will the new Southeast High School be built and when it will open?

  • The construction timeline is expected to span 34 months, and the school would open in Fall 2016.

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What has the 2008 bond issue accomplished so far?

  • To date, the 2008 bond issue has provided eight brand-new school facilities, 132 additional classrooms, 46 renovated classrooms, 43 safe room storm shelters, upgraded technical education classrooms, new and remodeled auditoriums and fine arts facilities and significant P.E. and athletic improvements. Click here to read the Accomplished report of all the bond projects that are completed or under contract for construction.
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Will the school be ADA accessible?
  • Absolutely. Regardless of which option is selected, the facility will be fully ADA accessible.
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Will school boundaries change?
  • For option A and option B, the Southeast High student attendance boundary would not change upon opening of the new school. All students who are currently eligible to attend Southeast High based on their home address will be eligible to do so whether the board chooses to renovate current Southeast or build a new school at 127th and Pawnee. If the board were to select option C, then new attendance boundaries would have to be drawn, with some students attending the new school, and some remaining at Southeast. Option C would also result in additional changes to high school boundaries surrounding these two schools in order to balance student population and demographics.
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What about the special transfers?
  • Special transfers are considered on a case-by-case basis, and would continue to be handled in the same manner regardless of the option chosen. If a student desires a special transfer to a school that is not based on their address assignment, they must first meet with the principal at their base school to review options.
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If you don’t spend all of the bond money, what happens to what’s left? Can you spend it on other district needs?
  • First things first – voter-approved funds from the 2008 bond issue can only be spent on projects related to school construction as approved by voters. It would be illegal to use any bond proceeds on teacher salaries, textbooks, utilities or other operating costs. We are asked periodically why we can’t quit building and instead use the money on teacher salaries, and the simple answer is “we can’t.”
  • With respect to what happens with unspent bond money, the answer depends on whether the bonds have been sold yet (thus generating funds to spend on school projects). $320 million of the $370 million in voter-approved bonds have been sold as part of the 2008 bond issue to-date. Based on the types of bonds sold, there are deadlines for expenditure of the $320 million. The $50 million which remains unsold has no timeframe. The board’s authority for selling these bonds is indefinite since the dollar amount was approved as part of the 2008 bond issue. However, the longer the board delays a decision on investing these funds in school construction projects, the more costs will escalate and the smaller the projects will be that can be funded with remaining dollars.
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How long do you have to spend the remaining bond money?
  • With respect to what happens with unspent bond money, the answer depends on whether the bonds have been sold yet (thus generating funds to spend on school projects). $320 million of the $370 million in voter-approved bonds have been sold as part of the 2008 bond issue to-date. Based on the types of bonds sold, there are deadlines for expenditure of the $320 million. The $50 million which remains unsold has no timeframe. The board’s authority for selling these bonds is indefinite since the dollar amount was approved as part of the 2008 bond issue. However, the longer the board delays a decision on investing these funds in school construction projects, the more costs will escalate and the smaller the projects will be that can be funded with remaining dollars.
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Why does the board get to make the decision instead of letting the community being affected take a vote?
  • The Wichita Board of Education is elected by the citizens of the district to make decisions on behalf of its constituents. It has fiduciary responsibility for the affairs of the school district, thus is charged with making decisions that have financial impact, or which are impacted by finances available to support the education of Wichita’s children. The board has requested community feedback throughout the months of May and June in order to best inform its decision on this important matter.
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If current SE is landlocked now, wasn’t it landlocked during the bond campaign? Why didn’t you talk about the need to buy property back then?
  • Nearly $8 million was included in the budget for the proposed 2008 bond issue for land acquisition, with the clear intention that at a number of district properties – including North and Southeast – land would have to be acquired in order for the bond issue project to be completed as specified. The discussion about land acquisition at the current Southeast High property would be occurring regardless of whether the board faced the pause and study dilemma it is considering today.
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I’m concerned that the AAA area issues aren’t being priorities. What is being done to consider the impact of change on the AAA area and other low income families?
  • One of the important components of both the 2000 and 2008 bond issues has been support of neighborhood schools. At a time when many districts around the country were moving away from smaller neighborhood schools toward larger and more efficient campuses, Wichita has remained committed to neighborhood schools across our communities. That commitment is highly visible when you look at Wichita’s core inner-city neighborhoods. If you look at the historical Assigned Attendance Area, these two bond issues have constructed four brand new buildings (Gordon Parks, Isely [now Mueller], Spaght and Washington) and remodeled or expanded four others (Adams, Brooks, Buckner and L’Ouverture), which includes 8 new libraries, 8 new multi-purpose rooms, and 140 new classrooms. If you expand focus beyond the AAA and look at the city’s core from north to south, you will find new or remodeled/expanded schools at locations including Cloud, Ortiz, Earhart, Park, Horace Mann, Irving, Linwood, Gardiner, Allen, Griffith and Anderson, as well as numerous other secondary schools.
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Will they still be a buffalo?
  • Regardless of whether the BOE selects option A or option B, Southeast’s mascot would remain the Golden Buffalo, and its school colors would remain the same.
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Why are you deserting the inner city to move to the suburbs? Why aren’t you investing in inner-city schools? (neighborhood schools)
  • One of the important components of both the 2000 and 2008 bond issues has been support of neighborhood schools. At a time when many districts around the country were moving away from smaller neighborhood schools toward larger and more efficient campuses, Wichita has remained committed to neighborhood schools across our communities. That commitment is highly visible when you look at Wichita’s core inner-city neighborhoods. If you look at the historical Assigned Attendance Area, these two bond issues have constructed four brand new buildings (Gordon Parks, Isely [now Mueller], Spaght and Washington) and remodeled or expanded four others (Adams, Brooks, Buckner and L’Ouverture), which includes 8 new libraries, 8 new multi-purpose rooms, and 140 new classrooms. . If you expand focus beyond the AAA and look at the city’s core from north to south, you will find new or remodeled/expanded schools at locations including Cloud, Ortiz, Earhart, Park, Horace Mann, Irving, Linwood, Gardiner, Allen, Griffith and Anderson, as well as numerous other secondary schools.
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What will you do when the new Southeast is overcrowded? How will you handle growth in this area?
  • If at some point the student population in this boundary exceeds the capacity of the school, consideration will have to be given to redrawing school boundaries. At this point, RSP & Associates, the demographics firm the district has engaged previously to consult on boundary change issues, would be enlisted to develop boundary change scenarios that address both student population and demographic considerations.
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How much will the city and county have to pay for roads to allow people to safely drive to the new high school site?
  • As part of the district’s purchase agreement for the land at 127th and Pawnee, there is a provision that the district and the previous owner of the land pay for needed road improvements on 127th south of Pawnee that would be required in order to open and operate the school. All other major arterial roadways around the property are currently paved.
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How much will it cost to bus kids to the new southeast quadrant high school?
  • If option B is selected, the range could be as low as $28,000 for additional fuel costs, to as high as $560,000 for 14 additional buses prior to state transportation reimbursement. Many factors play into the state reimbursement figure as well as route design, and it is anticipated that the actual annual cost will fall in the middle of this range.
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If the board choses option A, what happens to the land purchased for the new high school?
  • That land, which is currently owned by the district, would remain as is until a decision was made in the future to use it for school construction or in some other manner dispose of the property.
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If the new SEQHS is NOT built, will you allow people to choose where their kids go to school?
  • For option A and option B, the Southeast High student attendance boundary would not change upon opening of the new school. All students who are currently eligible to attend Southeast High based on their home address will be eligible to do so whether the board chooses to renovate current Southeast or build a new school at 127th and Pawnee. In addition, every district high school student has the opportunity to apply for attendance at Northeast Magnet, or seek a special transfer to one of the district’s other high schools for participation in a special program. If the board were to select option C, then new attendance boundaries would have to be drawn, with some students attending the new school, and some remaining at Southeast. Students would continue to have the magnet and special program options as well.
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Will our kids be bused to East or West high?
  • There has been no conversation about busing students from Southeast to either East or West for any of the options being considered by the board. If option C was selected, the board would have to redraw high school boundaries in order to distribute enrollment at both the new school and Southeast. The concept provided to the board this spring would have some students who currently attend East High being shifted to Southeast, though a final recommendation would be based on thorough analysis by RSP & Associates. Once final boundaries would be drawn, transportation officials would then determine whether students in those areas would be eligible for transportation to their assigned high school
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If you build the new school, will you still have activity buses so kids can still participate in after school extra-curricular activities?
  • Yes, activity buses are an important support feature to allow all students the opportunity to participate in after school and extra-curricular activities. Activity buses currently run after school from each of the district’s high schools, and that would continue to be the case regardless of which option the board selects.
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Will students really be on buses for 2 hours every day?
  • No they would not. The maximum time that any student in Wichita is to be on a bus for a given run is 40 minutes. Each year following enrollment, runs are structured in order to make sure student time on a bus does not exceed 40 minutes. If the board selected option B, runs would be developed with this same consideration in mind.
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How many students are within walking distance of the new SEQHS? How many within walking of current SE?
  • Based on the 2012-13 student population, option A (current Southeast) has 675 students that live less than 2.5 miles from the school, or approx. 43%. With the same geographic boundary, option B (new Southeast) would have 128, or 9%, of students who live less than 2.5 miles from the school. If option C were selected, the location at 127th and Pawnee would have 15% of its 800-student population within 2.5 miles.
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How many of the students currently at Southeast walk to school? How many ride the bus?
  • Based on the 2012-13 student population, just over half of the students who are eligible to ride the bus actually do so on a regular basis. Approx. one third of the students who live less than 2.5 miles actually walk to school. The remainder of the current Southeast students drive, ride with friends or are transported by parents each day.
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Is there a chance that the current Southeast could be a vacant building if the board decides to build the new high school? (ref. neighborhood deterioration, business purchasing power )
  • There is absolutely no chance that current Southeast could be a vacant building if the board chooses option B and constructs a new high school at 127th and Pawnee. At the outset of the conversation, Superintendent Allison and the board pledged that if Southeast students were to move to a new high school facility, the current building at Lincoln and Edgemoor would remain a viable and occupied building. As has been discussed at every public meeting, under option B, the current Southeast High would host three now-separately located entities: the district’s administration center, the district’s instructional support center, and a newly formed Wichita Area Technical College campus that brings together several program sites. The facility at Lincoln and Edgemoor would house hundreds of adults and older students during the day, and an active adult/older student population in the evening hours.
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Would having a larger high school provide more opportunities for class variety than two small ones?
  • Under the district’s current financial scenario, the answer is yes. If the board selects option C (two smaller schools), approximately $9.2 million would need to be cut from the district’s other high schools in order to fund this option. This cut would impact ALL district high schools, including both current Southeast and the new southeast quadrant high school. Potential impacts include reduction in core class positions at each school, resulting in a class size increase of 8-10 students per class; fewer advanced academic classes or scheduling them on alternating years; reduction in other advanced and special program opportunities that are features of our district including foreign languages, electives with smaller enrollments, introductory tech ed classes, athletics and arts; and non-classroom personnel reductions. If the board selects options A or B, Southeast High continues to offer a robust array of electives and advanced placement courses.
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Why do they need further renovations to SE if a new school is built?
  • If the board selected option B, limited renovations would be made at current Southeast to accommodate the administrative offices and WATC classrooms that would occupy the building. If the board selected option C, then the specified renovations would still need to be made at current Southeast in order that the student population that remains there would have equitable facilities as compared to all other high schools in the Wichita district.
If you build the brand new school, when will it open?
  • If the board decides to build a new high school facility, the construction timeline is expected to span 34 months, and the school would open in Fall 2016.
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Can we afford option C? What cuts would have to be made if we selected this option?
  • If the board selects option C, approximately $9.2 million would need to be cut from the district’s other high schools in order to fund this option. This cut would impact ALL district high schools, including both current Southeast and the new southeast quadrant high school. Potential impacts include reduction in core class positions at each school, resulting in a class size increase of 8-10 students per class; fewer advanced academic classes or scheduling them on alternating years; reduction in other advanced and special program opportunities that are features of our district including foreign languages, electives with smaller enrollments, introductory tech ed classes, athletics and arts; and non-classroom personnel reductions.
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Would class size go down at all with the new Southeast?
  • If option B was selected, class sizes would remain consistent with their current levels. If option C was selected and the district had to cut approx. $9.2 million from the budget of all high schools, core class size would rise at all Wichita high schools by 8-10 students per class.
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Have you fully explored creative options to fund option C? All day K? Consolidation of mid-level administration? Larger class sizes?
  • Because of the budget reduction conversations that have taken place within the Wichita district and all of Kansas public education since 2009, creative options for funding many vital programs has been reviewed multiple times over. When Superintendent Allison engaged the Wichita community in conversation about what was most important from a funding priority standpoint, smaller class sizes were at the top of the list, and all-day kindergarten was near the top. Both of these features were considered some of the most vital priorities in the education that we offer Wichita students. As part of these same budget reduction talks, central office administration has been reduced by nearly 36 percent since 2009. The district will continue to review critical funding priorities to ensure that limited resources are directed to those programs and services that are considered most important to offering a high-quality public education in Wichita.
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What is the possibility of a 9th/10th grade center and an 11th/12th grade center? You could still have WATC as part of the building, and still have both function as schools so you have room for growth.

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Could you open the SEQHS as a new magnet school like you did with NEM? That way you would have costs for all the coaches and other extras.
  • Neither a split-grade center not another magnet school have been investigated thoroughly at this point. However, not unlike the opening of an additional comprehensive high school (option C), a brand new attendance center entails additional operating dollars, thus cuts to existing high school programs. The question remains the same as the question the board faces currently when considering option C.

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Last Updated: 6/25/13
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