Archive for Wednesday, November 22, 2000

DeSoto: A charter district?

November 22, 2000

It won't happen this year, but Superintendent Marilyn Layman said she is intrigued by the idea of making DeSoto the state's first charter district.

The idea came up earlier this month when the district's 20-member administration team discussed the changes needed in the educational system.

Among other things, the discussion touched on year-round school that will allow the district to provide increased teacher salaries by extending contracts to a full-year basis, Layman said.

The problem with initiating year-round school and other innovative programs is funding, Layman said. It was suggested that becoming a charter district could provide some of the needed dollars.

"The state and federal government provide charter school grants each year that provide extra dollars for creative, innovative ways to meet the needs of students," Layman said. "The longer we talked, the more we got excited about becoming a model district for the state."

The Kansas Department of Education admitted the idea of a charter district had not been suggested before.

Nothing became of the idea this year because the deadline for charter school applications is Dec. 1. That didn't give the district time to develop a grant proposal, Layman said.

"Grants come up every year," she said. "I look for us to design something by next year's deadline."

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