School board right to reject city’s proposal
The DeSoto School District last week rejected a proposal by the city of DeSoto that the two entities form a joint recreation commission. We think the school board made the right decision.
The joint commission, if approved, could have a taxing authority of up to five mills. Members of DeSoto's Parks and Recreation Board hoped the money would allow them to offer better recreational opportunities for the people of DeSoto. That's true. But is that really the school district's responsibility?
We don't think so.
Deputy Superintendent Sharon Zoellner told school board members Kansas law allows for such partnerships. She was wise to point out, however, that the DeSoto School District is in a unique situation.
Because the district serves several municipalities, including DeSoto, Lenexa, Olathe and Shawnee, it would be unfair for the board to enter into such an agreement for just one of those cities.
It's true the schools were built with taxpayer money and the school district should make its facilities available to residents. Superintendent Marilyn Layman has supported that concept in the past.
Board members are currently looking into the possibility of teaming with the city to build a new swimming pool to be shared by the students and residents of DeSoto. We applaud such teamwork.
However, it's not the school district's responsibility to be the community catch all.
The city's parks department seems to be moving in the right direction. The recent hiring of a new parks and recreation director should go a long way toward improving the recreational opportunities for area residents.
City officials now need to step up and recognize it's their responsibility to provide residents with what should be considered basic services.