Archive for Tuesday, February 26, 2008

With referendum in mind, board discusses capital funds

February 26, 2008

At a special meeting Monday night, the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education made a list of its top priorities that should be considered when developing the next bond referendum.

Most were items the board has discussed previously, like building expansions to Starside, Riverview and Clear Creek elementary schools.

"We know that there are some issues here within our district that we know we need to do," said board president Janine Gracy.

District facilities director Denis Johnson presented information on the district's capital outlay funds and presented data on other school districts' uses of capital outlay.

"The board asked what other districts carried in their balance for capital outlay and how they handled it," Johnson said. "The big question came down to what do you keep in reserve. The districts that are close to our size like Spring Hill, Gardener and Lansing have close to $2 million.

Johnson said capital outlay projections through 2011-12 show a depleted budget, so a mill levy increase would be needed to fund future projects. The projections didn't include the use of capital outlay funds for building expansions, which would deplete the budget sooner.

The projected year-end capital outlay balance for 2011-12 was about $2.4 million, however that didn't include the rollover in technology funds that would likely occur. At the beginning of the 2007-08 school year, the capital outlay balance was about $8.2 million. Johnson said current expenditures exceed new revenue generated by about $1.1 million per year.

Johnson also presented timelines for bond referendums to help the board determine how quickly it would need to move to develop another bond referendum.

If the board wants the referendum to go to voters in the primary election Aug. 5, the board would need to adopt a resolution calling for election by April 7. However, if the board decides to wait until the general election Nov. 4, the board would have until July 7 to adopt a resolution calling for election.

If an Aug. 5 bond referendum was approved, construction for Mill Valley and De Soto high schools would be complete in September 2010. Approval of a Nov. 4 bond referendum would delay completion until December 2010.

Johnson also proposed the board stay with Hollis and Miller Architects while developing the bond referendum in order to save the district time and money.

"They have a history with the district and they've been involved with planning," he said. "If we did a (request for proposal) we would be starting cold and it would not be efficient."

The board directed him to show how much money they would save by staying with the company.

District operations director Jack Deyoe presented information to the board on the projected future development of the district.

In the area north of Shawnee Mission Parkway and east of Kansas Highway 7, Deyoe projected the number of high school students would be about 1,322. His projection used enrollment numbers for this year's kindergarten through third-graders in the area. It did not account for students moving into the district.

Deyoe presented the information so the board could help determine how to create natural boundaries for schools when discussing a bond referendum.

The board asked Deyoe to prioritize the need for elementary classrooms. He listed Starside and Clear Creek elementary schools first, followed by Riverview Elementary School and finally an addition to Mize Elementary School or a new elementary school on land the district owns at 55th Street and Belmont Drive.

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