Archive for Thursday, December 14, 2000

District needs to find ways to pay for growth


December 14, 2000

We got a glimpse of the future Monday night and quite frankly it is scary.

An already financially-strapped community is getting the word that nine new school sites five elementary, two middle and two more high schools will be needed to serve the DeSoto school district in years to come.

Scary, indeed.

Heck, it seems like just months ago actually it was that we dedicated the grand opening of Mill Valley High. And now, we hear we need more schools?

Just one question: Who is going to pay for these new schools?

Granted, this is not going to happen tomorrow, next year or even the year after, but an architect warned the DeSoto school board at Monday night's meeting that it is going to happen someday.

The long-range projection show sthe district will more than triple in size from its current enrollment of 3,200 students to around 10,000. It didn't say how long such growth would take, but there was this warning: Not as long as you might think.

In other words, it's time to start planning for this growth.

Maybe that's the alarming part of this whole long-range projection. It's hard to make plans for nine new school sites when there are no long-range projections about just how much business and industry there will be in this community during this period of growth.

Business and industry are necessary to pay for this kind of growth. Certainly, the DeSoto school district cannot expect the residents of DeSoto to foot the bill for this kind of growth much of which will take place outside of DeSoto.

It's admirable that we have a state-of-the-art school district in DeSoto. With its resources, students in this district have opportunities students in other districts might not have and we are proud of that.

However, what is the cost of a state-of-the-art school district? Is building one larger school better than two smaller schools? We hope the school board seriously considers these questions as it embarks on this rapid growth.

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