During school board elections last spring, candidate Beth Brandel raised questions about whether the district can afford to run the new middle school, according to a March 15 post in The Midwest Democracy Project, the Kansas City Star’s online election information site. Brandel said Blue Valley officials planned the school before district enrollment slowed and before the budget decreased due to lower state tax revenues.
Money to operate the new building will not come at the expense of students in already-existing schools, according to Aubry Bend Principal Diana Tate in a post on the Blue Valley website. Rather, funds to operate Aubry Bend will come from an increase in local property taxes that the state allows for the first five years of a new school’s existence. Also, she said overcrowding in some Blue Valley schools makes a new middle school necessary.
Almost 600 students will be among the first to attend classes when Aubrey Bend opens on August 17, according to Jenni Newell, Blue Valley’s Executive Director of Business and Finance. She added that enrollment is not growing as much as in previous years, but there will be more than 100 new students in the district this fall.
For the coming school year, the mill levy will increase to 73.404 mills. This is 2.35 mills more than last year. Newell added that the opening of the new school is only part of the reason for the change. District bond and interest payments will also be affecting property tax bills.
Brandel, the candidate who raised questions about funding for the new middle school, is a certified public accountant. She did not win election to the school board this year.
Aubry Bend Middle School is located at 12501 W. 175th St. in Overland Park. Its school colors will be green and silver, and its mascot will be a wolverine.