Archive for Thursday, January 14, 2010

District researches ECE move

January 14, 2010

The Early Childhood Education program in De Soto USD 232 may be on the move again.

The program could be relocated from Countryside Learning Center to Belmont or Mize elementary schools.

The De Soto Board of Education at its regular meeting Monday evening approved an option to tentatively move the program.

The possible relocation was presented as a way to cut expenses while having minimal negative impact on the program.

The program would require seven classrooms and two office areas. After surveying the district buildings the opportunity to move the program to Belmont or Mize became available.

Belmont, which will open in August 2010, has room for 26 classes, however, projected classes total 17.

Potential savings from moving the program to Belmont include the transfer of a custodian position, secretary and nurse. The move to Belmont would also allow the district to realize $30,000 in new facilities weighting funds from the state of Kansas. In total the cost savings and increased revenue would come to approximately $192,590, district officials said.

Mize Elementary has 24 classrooms, 16 of which are projected to be in use for the 2010-2011 school year. The move to Mize would not allow the district to realize the new facilities funds, but cost savings would total $159,500, district officials said.

Mark Schmidt, human resources director, said the move to Belmont was seen as a more long-term option than a move to Mize.

Should the program leave Countryside Learning Center, its at-risk section for 4-year-olds would move to Starside Elementary.

Tammy Thomas, Board of Education vice president, agreed with the move to a new location but suggested the special services department get further input from parents and teachers.

Alive Cater, director of communications, said the district would meet with parents and staff in the next month to discuss the possibility of moving the program. The board is expected to make a final decision on the move in February.

In other business, the Board:

• Supported the city of Shawnee’s creation of a tax increment financing district at Interstate 435 and Johnson Drive. The symbolic motion shows the district will not exercise its right to protest the TIF district creation.

The board asked the city to engage the school district in dialogue for the possibility of sharing revenue. The motion of support is not binding, but asks that the district’s interests are considered.

• Approved proceeding with maintenance projects for the capital outlay 2010-2011 plan. The list of maintenance projects totals $557,000, with an additional $500,000 being held for future heating and air-conditioning replacements at De Soto High School, Monticello Trails Middle School and the district service center. Maintenance projects include furniture replacement and additional lockers for DHS, as well as resurfacing parking lots at DHS, MTMS and Mill Valley High School. Going forward with the projects would leave the facility balance in the capital outlay fund at $4.2 million. The board will approve bids for each project individually.

• Heard from Alvie Cater on the option to create three-minute videos after board meetings to address major topics. The short videos would be placed on the district Web site for patrons unable to attend meetings.

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