Tornado ravaged Chapman, KS to spend $80,000 or more per student to rebuild schools?

Chapman Elementary in August 2008

Chapman Elementary School in August 2008

Much of Chapman, Kansas, which is about 140 miles west of Kansas City, was leveled by a tornado on June 11, 2008.  The tornado killed one woman and cut a path six blocks wide through much of the community of about 1250.

All three of Chapman’s public schools were heavily damaged by the storm.

The USD 473 School Board voted 5 to 1 at their Feb 2009 meeting for a bond issue of about $8.2 million to rebuild all three schools, but the $8.2 million was only a small part of the total expenditures.

Some say tax dollars will be wasted with the current proposed bond referendum since the full price tag is about $75 million for three schools with a total enrollment of less than 800 now.  Some claim the tornado damage is being used as an excuse to promote new school construction projects that may be among the most expensive schools in the U.S. on a per student basis.  New Chapman schools may cost taxpayers as much as $80,000 to $95,000 per student. Read the rest of this entry »