Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2008

Package deal

Board president predicts bond list to be final Monday

May 29, 2008

Although the De Soto Board of Education has until late July to approve a bond resolution in time for the Nov. 4 election, Board President Janine Gracy said a consensus may emerge at its meeting Monday.

"I think at the last meeting we got really close at deciding," she said.

The board has looked at plans that include expanding Mill Valley High School to 1,400 students, expanding De Soto High School to 1,000 students and building a seventh elementary school at 55th Street and Belmont Drive. The estimated price tag for the project is $71.5 million.

At its last meeting May 19, the board asked Superintendent Sharon Zoellner for information on how much the proposed bond projects would increase homeowners' mill levies. The board also discussed the option of increasing the De Soto High expansion to 1,400 students, which would bring the bond resolution's total estimated price to more than $82.1 million.

Gracy said the unity of the board, or lack thereof, would largely affect patron support of a bond resolution.

"If the board is divided, then it doesn't matter who is on what side," she said. "If the community sees a divided board then they will be divided in their opinions."

Gracy recognized the weakened economy and rising prices have had an effect on households, but she noted the district's needs aren't going away.

"I hate to say this and it is no cliche, bond issues don't go away they just get more expensive," she said. "I really truly believe that the bond that we will put before the patrons will be one that we can all live with and that we can afford for the sake of the children.

"There is not fluff in this bond that we are talking about. Adding on to Mill Valley and adding on to De Soto High School and building an elementary school - there is no fluff there."

The next board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday at the District Administrative Building, 35200 W. 91st St., De Soto.

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