The Lawrence school board voted Monday to hire new principals at Pinckney and Sunset Hill schools, as well as an assistant principal for Liberty Memorial Central Middle School.
Kristin Wondra will become the new principal at Pinckney School starting in the fall. She will succeed Lesa Frantz, who is retiring this spring after 17 years at the school.
Wondra is currently an educational consultant at the South Central Education Service Center in Clearwater, one of seven regional education cooperatives in Kansas. There she provides professional development training for teachers and administrators in 26 school districts. Before that, she spent seven years as an elementary teacher in the Derby school district. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Wichita State University.
The board named Darcy Kraus to be the next principal at Sunset Hill School. She will replace Chris Bay, who is resigning in June after 13 years at the school and 21 years with the district.
Kraus has worked the last 20 years in the Topeka school district, including the last four as an elementary language arts consulting teacher. She has also been a Title I reading liaison and instructional coach, a seventh-grade reading teacher and a first-grade teacher. She earned a bachelor's degree at Kansas State University and a master's at Emporia State University.
In addition to the two new principals, the board named Anne Wallace to be the permanent assistant principal at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School. She has worked in that job on an interim basis this year while Lisa Clipsham, the assistant principal since 2006, was on extended leave due to illness. Clipsham officially resigned, effective Feb. 28.
Wallace previously spent five years as a curriculum specialist overseeing career and technical education programs in science, health and wellness, physical education, and science- and health-related fields. She also coordinated the district's guidance counseling program.
The bulk of Monday's board meeting was devoted to discussing the $92.5 million bond issue that voters will decide on in the April 2 election.
Throughout the monthslong discussion leading up to the bond proposal, board members and district officials have insisted that it would not result in an increase in district property taxes. During Monday's meeting, district officials explained just how they plan to accomplish that.
Kathy Johnson, the district's finance director, said the plan is to issue the bonds in three phases, starting with $36 million in fiscal year 2014; another $36 million in 2015; and $20.5 million in 2016.
During that time, the district will be retiring other bonds, which will enable the district to keep its property tax levy for bond and interest payments flat, Johnson said.
The district's current tax rate for debt payments is 10.642 mills. That translates to $183.57 in tax on a $150,000 home. For commercial property valued at $1 million, it translates to $2,660.50 a year in property tax.
That, however, is only the bond and interest portion of the district's total property tax levy, and board member Mark Bradford said it will be important for the next board to communicate that to the public.
"There are different pieces that make up the total bill," said Bradford, who is not running for re-election after his term expires this year. "I think it's imperative that the board continue to explain that on an annual basis. Other parts (of the mill levy) may go up or down."
Johnson also said that her projections of future bond and interest mill levies were based on a number of assumptions, any of which could change over time.
Among the factors beyond the board's control that could influence future property taxes, she said, are changes in assessed property values in the district; the county's property tax delinquency rate; and future actions by the Kansas Legislature.
Johnson said she tried to take future valuation growth and delinquency rates into account in making her projections. But even if those factors should force an increase in the bond and interest levy, she said, the district could offset that by reducing other levies such as the one for capital outlay expenses to hold the total mill levy about even.