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School Resource Officers, Utility Savings & Full-Day Kindergarten on De Soto School Board Agenda

Art Credit: KC Education Enterprise | Photo Credit: 123rf stock image | Logo Credit: De Soto School District

The De Soto School District’s Board of Education will meet Monday, May 7, at 6 p.m.

In addition to routine agenda items — such as accepting donations and approving bids — board members will have a full schedule this evening. They will also be discussing law enforcement officers in the schools, energy conservation and full-day kindergarten.

Law Enforcement Officers in the Schools

Annually the board renews agreements with local governments to station law enforcement officers in district schools. The city of Shawnee provides School Resource Officers (SROs) for Mill Vally High School and Monticello Trails Middle School. Lenexa provides officers for Mill Creek Middle School. And the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office provides officers for De Soto High School and Lexington Trails Middle School. According to district administration, these agencies have agreed not to raise their fees, which will total about $117,000 for the coming school year.

SROs are responsible for duties such as educating students about laws, serving as an educational resource for staff members, referring families and students to assistance agencies, investigating suspected criminal activity at the schools, providing information about students to law enforcement agencies and arresting those who are suspected of committing crimes. During the 2010-2011 school year, the most recent for which statistics are available, 52 students in the De Soto School District (out of a total enrollment of 6,500) were involved in 54 discipline incidents serious enough to be reported to the Kansas State Department of Education. About half were classified as violent incidents, although none resulted in injuries. One involved a weapon, three involved alcohol and eleven involved illegal drugs.

Utility Savings

Also during tonight’s meeting, representatives of Energy Education, Inc. will make a presentation to the school board about their services. Utility bills are one of a school district’s largest expenses (next to staff salaries). During these difficult economic times, many districts are searching for ways to save money through energy conservation. According to Energy Education, which has about two decades of experience working with more than a thousand schools and other institutions, they can help districts pay up to a third less on their utility bills. And the company has suggested they can help the De Soto schools save more than $4 million over the next decade. If they do not, they offer a money-back guarantee. Later this month, school board members will decide whether to hire the company.

Full-Day Kindergarten

Another item on tonight’s agenda is information from the Teaching and Learning Committee regarding kindergarten. According to their report, they are working on a proposal that would allow kindergartener to attend school all day instead of half a day. The proposal should be ready to present to the school board next fall, and committee members would like to see kindergartners attending school full-time starting with the 2013-14 school year.

The Board of Education meeting, which is open to the public, will take place in the district Administration/Board of Education Building; 35200 West 91st St.; De Soto, KS 66018.


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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.


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