Archive for Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New De Soto USD 232 boundary lines now official

December 23, 2008

Frequent changes occur in a growing school district and De Soto’s USD 232 is no exception.

On Dec. 1, the USD 232 Board of Education approved changes to the three member districts. Changes were made to remain in accordance with state statute 72-6769,

The statute reads: “the board shall draw boundaries of board member districts that are compact and equal in population…If the population of any board member district is at least 5 percent above or 5 percent below the mean population of all board member districts within the school district, based upon the most recently published federal decennial census or upon population estimates as determined by the county election officer of the home county of the school district, the board of education of such school district shall change the boundaries of the board member districts so that the population of any board member district is not greater than 5 percent above nor 5 percent below the mean population of all board member districts with in the school district,”

In the last five years the population of the school district increased dramatically, causing current board districts to have unequal populations. Previously, the statute stated the district only have to make changes every 10 years following census results. The district changed lines in 2003 in conjunction with the 2000 census results.

In 2007, the state changed statute 72-6769 to state changes would be made anytime a district became aware of noncompliance.

Alvie Cater, district communications director, said the process to change district lines began in June.

Jack Deyoe, district director of operations, said the district used information from the County Economic Research Institute, the Mid America Regional Council and the Johnson County election offices to determine the new population mean for the district.

“The population has grown an additional 6,000 or 7,000 people since 2003,” Deyoe said. “Our districts mean is now in the 9,600 range.”

The district area for positions one and four covers De Soto and goes all the way to the K-7 Corridor now, Deyoe said.

The district with positions two and five to the north is a lot smaller because it has the heaviest population. The area is near Monticello road and the Kansas River.

“About 50 percent of the district’s population is in that one zip code, 66226,” Deyoe said.

The school district came up with a proposal and presented it to the Board Committee in October, a few questions arose, Cater said. “But they were in favor of the changes.”

Shortly after the committee’s review the district took the proposal to the Johnson County election office and received the thumps up, Cater said.

The district’s attorney wrote the final resolution and the board passed the measure at the Dec. 1 board meeting.

There will continue to be seven board members, two from each district and one at-large seat. While the changes take effect immediately, no board member will be unseated.

“The Shawnee districts shrank, while the De Soto and unincorporated parts became larger,” Cater said. “The goal was to come up with a plan that did not unseat any board members.”

However, one member now resides outside of the district he represents, Cater said.

Bill Fletcher currently represents position three for the district, which covers a portion of Shawnee and a little piece of Lenexa. Fletcher’s term does not expire until 2011, he will continue to fulfill his duties by representing position 3.

If Fletcher ran for re-election with the Board he will have to run in position 1, currently held by Tim Blankenship, Cater said.

Position 1 covers De Soto, Lenexa, Olathe and unincorporated areas.

Board positions four, five and six are up for election spring 2009.

The new districts, as well as board member information, are available on the USD 232’s Board of Education Web site: http://www.usd232.org/education/dept/dept.php?sectiondetailid=19658.

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