De Soto After last year's landslide defeat of a $12 million bond issue to construct a new high school and elementary school, DeSoto patrons formed a 16-member citizens advisory panel to develop a plan for dealing with crowding in the district's schools.
Supt. Glenn Coltharp said the group met on a regular basis and spoke with experts before formulating a new proposal. As a result, patrons will vote at Tuesday's general election on a $7 million bond issue to finance a new elementary school, an addition for DeSoto High School and electrical and plumbing upgrades at DeSoto Junior High School.
Coltharp said the panel came up with the most economical solution possible.
"I think we did a good job of meshing what our patrons can afford and what's good for our kids," he said. "We're crowded and we need more space and this will do that."
THE NEW 47,000-square-foot elementary school would be built on 40 acres at 73rd and Mize, and would accommodate 550 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Construction and equipment costs would total $3.39 million.
Coltharp said the school, which would be located in the central portion of the district, would draw students from the entire area and alleviate crowding problems at both DeSoto and Woodsonia elementary schools. If the bond issue passes, the school should open in time for the 1992-93 school year.
The addition to the high school, at a cost of $3.41 million, will double classroom space in the building, and add a gymnasium and locker areas, computer lab, and business, typing and music rooms. The school would accommodate 750 students in ninth through 12th grade.
Bond money also would fund $200,000 in electrical and plumbing work in the junior high school.
IF VOTERS approve the bond issue, ninth-graders will move to the high school from the junior high school, which would then serve only seventh-and eighth-graders in more of a middle school discipline, Coltharp said.
Ninth-graders, who are recognized by the state as high school students, would benefit from the variety of programs available in the high school, Coltharp said. Also, the district would save money because all high school instructors would teach under one roof instead of commuting between two schools.
About 1,800 youngsters attend DeSoto schools, but officials predict enrollments up to 8,900 by the year 2010. With the proposed new elementary school and renovation work, the district would not need additional facilties to handle growth before the 1996-97 school year, Coltharp said.