Derby USD 260 shares 2018 bond election path to success during final KASB BOLD class session

The  path followed by Derby USD 260 to the successful passage of a $114 million bond issue was shared during the closing session for this year’s KASB BOLD class last Friday. 

This was the sixth and final session for the 2019 KASB BOLD Class which met June 13 and 14 in Derby. 

BOLD, Business Operations Leadership Development, focuses on enhancing skills and knowledge around the following topics: building and facilities master planning; technology planning; finance strategies and planning; procurement processes; school security; risk management; and human resource management. The class includes administrators from KASB members across the state. 

Derby’s school bond election took place on Feb. 20, 2018, though planning began two years before that with the formation of the Process for Success Committee. The committee’s work centered on four areas of need: Safety and Security, Deferred Maintenance, Efficiency and Growth and Curriculum and Program Equity.  

The bond proposal approved by the district’s patrons covers a new elementary school, storm shelters for all Derby public schools, secured entrances and changes to improve accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Leading KASB BOLD’s class discussion on the planning and eventual bond campaign were Derby’s Heather Bohaty, superintendent of schools; Joe Dessenberger, finance and operations director; and Katie Carlson, communications director.  

Dessenberger stressed the importance of developing documented construction standards to guide the design phase. It is important that the standards reflect the community’s vision for their schools. The standards also clear up a lot of questions that can sometimes delay projects of this magnitude, he said. 

One key fact covered during the presentation was communication. Carlson said the district team guiding the planning and election closely monitored all forms of communication and community discussion about the project.  

“Be proactive and share everything you can at the appropriate time,” she said. 

Superintendent Bohaty said communication was one of the biggest challenges they faced. 

“You have to find the balance between transparency and planning,” she said.  

She noted that ideas shared during planning meetings can sometimes be misinterpreted as a solid plan. This can lead to misunderstandings if accurate information is not quickly released following every meeting and decision. 

Bohaty also referenced a community survey completed early in the process for the district by Patron Insight, Inc. The information gained from the survey helped the planning committee develop proposals that had the greatest chance of support in the community, she said. 

Following the bond issue discussion, KASB BOLD class wrapped up its time together with a final discussion and graduation. Read more about the final session and graduation in the upcoming issue of KASB’s School Board Review. 

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