Posts tagged with Usd 232

De Soto district adds new AP courses

Students in the De Soto school district had the opportunity to take three new Advanced Placement, or AP, classes this year as the district added chemistry, psychology and biology to its offerings.

The district is in the midst of a four-year plan to increase AP and Pre-AP course offerings at middle schools and high schools. AP courses prepare students for college-level assignments while allowing them to earn college credit through year-end AP exams. Pre-AP classes serve as professional development opportunities for staff members and prepare students for taking AP courses.

Early enrollment figures had 679 Mill Valley and De Soto high school students taking Pre-AP courses, with five such courses being offered. At the AP level, 511 students are enrolled among 10 classes.

De Soto High School is offering AP chemistry and psychology and Pre-AP science. Mill Valley now has AP chemistry, psychology and biology courses.

The four-year plan will continue until 2013 with AP physics and calculus classes expected for next year in high school and Pre-AP math courses for middle school students. In a news release, the district said it still must determine what additional courses to offer in 2013.

By Stephen Montemayor

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In ACTs, De Soto outperforms state, national composite scores

The De Soto school district revealed 2011 Advanced Composite Test (ACT) scores Tuesday, posting composites above state and national composite scores.

De Soto's district composite score, 23.0, was a 0.7 point improvement from 2010's score. Mill Valley High School improved from 22.4 in 2010 to 23.5 in 2011, while De Soto High School remained steady at 22.1.

The district's composites are above that of Kansas (22.0) and the United States (21.1).

By Stephen Montemayor

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Board of Education approves $48.2 million budget

The De Soto USD 232 Board of Education on Monday approved the 2011-2012 budget of $48,274,429. No patrons of the district came forward during the public hearing regarding the budget and the six board members present unanimously approved the proposal. Board President Tammy Thomas was absent for family reasons but she spoke highly of the budget in a previous Explorer article.

The board also approved the purchase of 420 new laptops for the district at a cost of $161K. Money for the laptops will come from the capital outlay budget and will be the first wave in a district effort to update the current fleet of computers that are eight-nine years old. According to several district educators at the meeting, the laptops are necessary for state assessment tests, which are all online now. The board plans to phase more new computers in over the coming months.

Changes to the employee handbook were also approved by the board and staff reported on the progress of the De Soto High School Phase II project, which should be going to bid next week. The board expects to award a contract at the Oct. 10 meeting.

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Aug. 15 De Soto USD 232 Board of Education meeting

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De Soto USD 232 faculty and staff come together at annual convocation

The new school year is right around the corner and the faculty and staff of all De Soto USD 232 schools are ready for it, thanks to district's annual convocation.

At the convocation, which took place this morning, Wednesday, Aug. 10, district Superintendent Doug Sumner applauded every teacher and staff member in the audience for being "super heroes in the eyes of children."

"Everyone in this gymnasium who works with our children deserves genuine thanks for the sacrifices you make [for students]," Sumner said.

To drive home his point, Sumner provided a list of accomplishments from the 2010-2011 academic year, a list that included exceeding Adequate Yearly Progress, perfect ACT scores earned by district students and a National Merit finalist being selected from the district.

"It's one thing to list these awards and accomplishments," Sumner said. "It's the easy part. What this list fails to do is describe the hard work that went into earning each one and that's what truly deserves to be recognized."

The convocation also focused on unification and bringing the district together.

"We as a board truly feel that we have the best of the best when it comes to teacher and students and that's what builds our strong community and moves us forward," said Board of Education President Tammy Thomas.

To demonstrate this sense of unity, those in attendance had the opportunity to watch two original performances. For the first time ever, the De Soto High School and Mill Valley High School dance teams performed together, drawing applause and a standing ovation as they formed a seemingly never-ending kick line across the gymnasium.

The DHS and MVHS drum lines also performed together for the first time on record.

The new school year begins next week, with grades 1-9 starting on Monday, Aug. 15, grades 10-12 beginning Tuesday, Aug. 16 and kindergarten on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

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Quarterly newsletters for city and school district now available

The summer newsletters from the City of De Soto and the De Soto USD 232 are now available for download. In the newsletters are updates on the city's water projects currently underway and the school district's accomplishments during the 2010-2011 academic year. The city's newsletter may be downloaded here and the school district's is available here.

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Proposed 2011-2012 budget includes mill levy decrease for USD 232 patrons

De Soto USD 232's proposed 2011-2012 budget has one very noticeable, positive note: the district's mill levy could be decreasing by 1.5 mills thanks to a five percent increase in state aid for bonded interest and a nearly three percent in aid increase for the supplemental, or local option, budget.

"The potential savings to our patrons may not be huge but [the district] always feels [a reduction] is a step in the right direction," said District Finance Director Ken Larsen.

To break the numbers down, the proposed mill decrease would mean that for each $100,000 of assessed valuation on a home, the property owner would see a $15.29 reduction in taxes.

"It's not a huge decrease but it does add up," Larsen said.

Overall, the proposed budget of $48,274,429 is a $900K increase from the 2010-2011 budget. According to Larsen, the primary reason for the increased budget is the expectation for increased enrollment. Already the preliminary numbers for enrollment show a slight increase.

Enrollment factors into the district budget through the base state aid per pupil (BSAPP), which is down more than $200 this year to $3,780. Last year the state cut the BSAPP mid-year, Larsen is hopeful that won't happen this year thanks to the state's recent increase in revenues.

"It's good news for us that Kansas has a higher revenue than projected but as always we'll just do the best we can with what we're given," Larsen said. "That's our goal year to year."

While the district isn't making any cuts this year, Larsen warns that continuing to meet that goal will require reductions next year and beyond.

"We're holding steady this year but we need to be ready to make cuts in the future," he said. "We already have a finance committee in place that will begin meeting this fall to prepare for whatever is thrown at us in the coming years."

The Board of Education will meet on Monday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. to have a public hearing regarding the proposed budget and to vote on its approval.

Board President Tammy Thomas sees the proposed budget as an example of the district's increasing efficiency.

"People in the district are becoming more unified, we're not being held back by boundaries of 'that's not my job' because we all have the same focus of being mindful of the tax payers' money," she said. "We're doing what we can to streamline things and are always aware we're spending someone else's money."

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Starside Elementary summer food program deemed a success by organizers

Starside Elementary's summer food program only ran for 16 days during the summer school program but it provided a free lunch for more than 4,000 students in that short time. The program also provided more than 3,000 free breakfasts to students and sold a total of 29 meals to adults in the community.

"Being the first year for the program, we weren't really sure what to expect but we're very pleased with the results," Director of Student Nutrition Amy Droegemeier told the Board of Education at the July 25 board meeting.

The program, which received state funding, also turned a profit for the district, bringing in $10,654.65. Currently this money has been placed in the food service fund for the district and has not officially been ear-marked. For Droegemeier, the revenue is a pleasant bonus from the program but was never the purpose.

"We didn't do this (the program) to make money, we were doing it to help the kids of our district and our community, the money is just a nice extra."

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Preliminary projections show increased enrollment for USD 232

With early enrollment over, preliminary projections show an increase in the number of students attending USD 232 schools this fall. The district's overall head count is being projected at 6,900 students and, because each kindergarten student counts as a half student for state funding purposes, a full-time equivalency, or FTE, of 6,577 students, up from 6,700 and 6,343.5 respectively.

The numbers are "very preliminary" according to the district's Director of Administrative Services Alvie Cater.

A lot can change to enrollment numbers between now and the start of school and between then and the state's official head count on Sept. 20, Cater said.

"Right now students enrolled in previous years are still in that count, school could start and we could find out that some relocated over the summer," he said. "There could also be families who, for whatever reason, missed the early enrollment dates and have yet to sign-up their students."

The district receives state funding based on the FTE in the form of base state aid per pupil, which is currently set at $3,780. The proposed 2011-2012 budget, which will be approved at the Aug. 15 Board of Education meeting at the earliest, projected the district growing by at least 130 students.

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Board of Education releases proposed 2011-2012 budget

The De Soto USD 232 Board of Education approved publication of the proposed 2011-2012 budget, which may be downloaded here. In brief, the proposed $48,274,429 budget is a less than $1million increase from the 2010-2011 budget. Also, due to an increase in state aid for bond interest and payments, the district's mill levy will be decreasing by slightly more than one mill.

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