Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

DeSoto seeks responses before crafting bond

October 20, 2005

More than 10,000 residents throughout the De Soto USD 232 district are being asked to fill out a survey with their opinions on the next bond issue.

Alvie Cater, director of community relations, said each resident would receive a postcard with a link to the district's online survey at www.usd232.org.

"This was a directive from the board," he said. "They are trying to seek input from our stakeholders."

Cater said the results of the survey would be announced at the November board meetings as board members begin planning for the next bond issue.

Cater said board members were seeking other methods to gain input from residents about the bond issue.

Cater said no elements on the bond have been finalized. A district "wish list" was compiled to show that with future growth, De Soto will need space for elementary students almost immediately. Facility director Denis Johnson said the district would have enough students to fill a new elementary school in 2007 and possibly even two in 2009.

"With the current growth continuing, we know there will be a need for elementary schools," Johnson said.

Questions on the survey ask residents about capacity limits. Currently, De Soto school buildings are constructed to accommodate 550 elementary, 750 middle school and 750 high school students (1,000 with expansion). Cater said that while the elementary and middle school buildings are similar in size to surrounding districts, the high school capacity is smaller than most surrounding districts.

Johnson said the capacities have been approved by board members, however one of the issues is whether the district should increase space at current schools or build more smaller schools.

"Studies show that the school size have no negative impact on learning," Cater said. "But studies that point to smaller schools show that students are more engaged in the community."

Other questions on the survey ask whether the school board should buy land now or wait, and about involving other city and county governments. Cater said surveys were to be turned in by Oct. 31.

The survey can be found at the district Web Site: www.usd232.org.

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