Archive for Wednesday, July 9, 2008

De Soto board’s new president seeks unity

July 9, 2008

Newly elected De Soto USD 232 Board of Education president Larry Meyer took the outcome of his first meeting leading the board as a good sign.

"I am very pleased with my first meeting and how it went," he said. "I felt we all had a voice and we all worked together even though we weren't all in agreement on the items."

During Meyer's first meeting as board president, the board approved 6-1 a $75 million bond resolution that, if passed, would expand Mill Valley and De Soto high schools to 1,400 and 1,000 students, respectively. It also included building an elementary school on land the district owns at 58th Street and Belmont Drive. Board member Randy Johnson dissented.

Meyer, who has been a board member since 2005, said his goal for the board during the 2008-09 school year would be similar to the previous year's goal.

"I would like for this goal to unite and work together for the common good of the district," he said.

In addition to working together, the board also will focus on informing district patrons about the bond resolution, since the last two resolutions that went before voters failed.

"The process of communicating with the public not only lies with the superintendent, but it also lies with our board," Meyer said, reflecting a comment made during patron input by former board member Sandra Thierer. Thierer urged the board to attend the community forums and work with Superintendent Sharon Zoellner answering questions and concerns about the bond resolution.

Though Meyer agreed with the items on the bond resolution, he admitted he struggled with the cost.

"My conflict lies within being very aware that we have significant needs in the district as far as facilities, but yet we have to be aware of what the community can and will support," he said. "We need to clearly communicate that when we say '$75 million,' we say 'not to exceed.'"

There were two nominations for board vice president, Tim Blankenship and Don Clark, with Clark winning on a vote of 4-3. Clark has been a board member since 2003 and he was board president during the 2006-07 school year.

During its organizational meeting, the board agreed to keep The Explorer as the district's official newspaper, and approved its meeting schedule for the 2008-09 school year. The next board meeting will be at 6 p.m. July 21 at the District Administrative Center, 35200 W. 91st. St., De Soto.

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