Archive for Wednesday, October 8, 2008

USD 232 to redraw board district maps

October 8, 2008

In response to district growth, De Soto USD 232 will redraw board members districts before the spring school board elections.

USD 232 has seven board seats, one of which is elected at-large and the six others tied to districts. Candidates running for the district seats must be a resident of the district and participation in any primary is limited to voters living in the district. All board general elections are contested districtwide.

When informed of the need to redistrict, board members wondered about the timing and what census numbers were being used.

The numbers were from the Johnson County Election Office, De Soto Superintendent Sharon Zoellner said. Re-

districting was needed because estimates showed there was more than a 5 percent variance in board districts from equal representation.

Brian Newby, Johnson County election commissioner, said a Kansas statute passed in 2006 required districts to routinely update board boundaries. To help with that process, his office provides voter registration numbers, he said.

“The problem is registration isn’t population,” he said. “We trust what they come up with for this.”

The County Economic Research Institute now estimates 29,000 people live in USD 232, up from 17,932 from the official 2000 U.S. Census.

USD 232 last redrew its board districts in 2003. Much like that effort, new district maps will surely make board districts on the eastern side of the school district smaller in area and those on the western side larger to reflect the greater population density in western Shawnee.

The board will look at new district boundaries maps in November. Zoellner said the election office needed the new maps 90 days before the March 2009 primary.

In other action, the board approved scheduling an evening graduation ceremony at De Soto High School so a student could participate in graduation and go to the state tennis finals. The DHS graduation will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 16.

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