Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

USD 232 records 9 percent growth

September 29, 2005

Another year of pace-setting enrollment growth didn't surprise De Soto USD 232 officials.

De Soto maintained its status as the fastest-growing district in Kansas by gaining 443 students for a total of 5,293. The numbers continued a trend from the past 10 years, during which the district has nearly tripled its enrollment.

"Most of that is in western Shawnee," said Jack Deyoe, USD 232 director of operations and planning. "We've just had large numbers of new houses go up."

Deyoe said headcount numbers are similar to those indicated by kindergarten round-ups and last year's estimates.

Districts reported enrollment numbers to the state last week, which will be audited and will eventually serve as the basis for state per-pupil funding.

Deyoe said district officials were in the process of formulating a new bond issue to build a new high school near western Lenexa. It would be on the same campus at 83rd Street and Mize Road where the construction of a middle school under way. He said construction of the new schools would help with the families who have to drive long distances so their children can attend school in De Soto or western Shawnee.

Deyoe said the district follows development and population changes in each city, and numbers show many young families with children not yet old enough to attend school.

"There's a town about the size of Leawood that's being built (in western Lenexa)," he said. "After we get growth in Shawnee and Lenexa, we'll begin seeing more in De Soto."

With 824 students and growing, Mill Valley High School in western Shawnee is fast approaching the district's preference limiting enrollment in high schools of 1,000 students.

Although the board has set a goal of keeping enrollment at elementary schools at about 500, all five elementary schools have surpassed that goal.

This year, Prairie Ridge Elementary School gained 104 students and Clear Creek Elementary School gained 71 students.

Deyoe said the district expected an increase of enrollment with the transfer of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant to a private company and the completion of De Soto's new sewer system in early 2007.

"Developers follow the sewers," he said. "That's one of the reasons we had so much growth in western Shawnee, and why we're expecting more in De Soto."

Districts across the state submitted their enrollment numbers last week. The numbers won't be official until the state has audited headcount and FTE.

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