De Soto The DeSoto School Board on Monday scheduled the next meeting of a bond issue citizens advisory panel for late this month.
DeSoto Supt. Glenn Coltharp said this morning that the group will meet at 7 p.m. July 30 at the DeSoto High School to discuss a pending bond issue election set for Nov. 6. Coltharp said the panel also will discuss ways of gathering and distributing information about the bond election to patrons when they enroll their children for the coming school year.
The panel was formed late last year shortly after a $12.38 million mail-in ballot bond issue failed in October. District administrators, staff members and school patrons were asked to serve on the advisory panel and to monitor the community's attitudes toward another bond issue.
THE PANEL has mailed surveys to patrons asking what type of bond issue and for what amount they would support. Based on the survey results, the current bond issue has been trimmed to $7 million and would pay for an addition to the high school, renovation of the junior high school and construction of a new elementary school.
Patrons last year said they defeated the bond issue because it would have raised taxes while they were worrying about the uncertain effects of reappraisal. Patrons also said they opposed the proposal because it called for a new high school and elementary school to be built in Shawnee. Voters said they did not want to pay for a school so far away from DeSoto.
IN ADDITION to the city of DeSoto, the DeSoto school district takes in 100 square miles that includes parts of Lenexa, Shawnee, Olathe, Bonner Springs and large tracts of unincorporated land in the northwest part of Johnson County.
Coltharp said panel members on July 30 will discuss how to prepare a packet of bond issue information that could be given to parents when they enroll their children the week of Aug. 13.
School officials say swelling enrollments caused by people moving into the district from the nearby Kansas City area are forcing the district to provide additional classroom space.
Coltharp said recently that the bond issue should have been put to voters five years ago if the district were to have kept up with growth.
IN ANOTHER matter, board members learned Monday that the district received a $30,000 matching-fund grant from the Kansas Department of Education. The money will go toward paying for a district at-risk program that provides special resources for students whose educational needs are not being met.
Under the terms of the grant, the district is to kick in another $30,000 toward the program, Coltharp said. The money can be used for such things as purchasing supplies or hiring a teacher, he said.
Students involved in the program are taken out of the regular district program and placed in the at-risk program for two hours each day. The board applied for the grant in June.