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New Middle School = Higher Taxes in Blue Valley


The opening of Aubry Bend Middle School later this month will cause a small increase in the tax bill for property owners in the Blue Valley School District.

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.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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