Archive for Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mail Call: District makes effort to respond to questions

December 28, 2006

Thank you, Dianne Lavenburg, for asking questions about our school district. In fact, if anyone reading this has questions, please take a moment to call or write me.

Dianne, you can contact me anytime. Your letter to the editor in the De Soto Explorer (Dec. 21, 2006) was the first time I learned that you had questions about the school district. I called you on Dec. 21 and left a message in your voicemail. My telephone number is (913) 583-8300.

In regard to your letter:

1. Every construction project goes through competitive bid, as required by law. This is verified by all records. The current board members have made it clear that they want to ensure at least two bidders on every item.

2. A new high school was not proposed in the recent bond issue. The De Soto USD 232 Board of Education would like to utilize existing facilities first. Expanding buildings makes sense at this point in our district. De Soto High School, without changing current boundaries, will be near capacity in just three years -- and that is counting students already in the system, not new students.

3. The board decided a few years ago that it cannot afford one laptop computer per child. It does not make financial sense for a district growing as fast as ours to purchase a laptop for every student. Bond issue dollars earmarked for "technology" have been spent on upgrading the entire computer network and computer hardware for all schools, including the two new buildings opening next fall. Thanks to the support of our patrons, our teachers and students now have access to technology when they need it for learning.

4. De Soto USD 232 actually has the largest elementary schools in Johnson County. Many parents may not realize that fact. Our middle schools are also among the largest in Johnson County. Where our district has been different from surrounding school districts is at the high school level. USD 232 has some of the smallest high schools in the county. The board would like to utilize and maximize existing facilities.

I can assure you that the seven elected board members want the best education for children, while at the same time watching where the dollars are spent. Our board members are asking for information and looking at data to make decisions. One of the best ways for you and any other patron to be informed, to get involved and to be heard is to attend the monthly, public board of education meetings.

Please continue to ask questions and get the answers you need. Call me directly. I am more than happy to assist you. If I do not have the answers, I will get them for you.

Alvie Cater

USD 232 Communications

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