Following community survey, DeSoto Parish School Board calls for April election for new bond proposal for North DeSoto schools

At their first meeting of 2024, the DeSoto Parish School Board unanimously approved placing a bond measure on the ballot for the April 27, 2024 election, with a revised plan to address growth in the North DeSoto area. 

Voters in District 2 (North DeSoto Schools) rejected a bond proposal for capital improvements in a November 2023 election. Because of the urgency of overcrowding and growing enrollment, the Board has approved a revised plan for voters to consider. In a survey that saw input from more than 600 residents of District 2, 78% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the Board needs to do something about the growth in the North DeSoto area.  

The new $85.2 million proposal focuses on academic spaces and would result in a new high school, improvements at the lower elementary, and the ability to reconfigure grade levels across facilities to lower class sizes, increase opportunities for students at all grade levels, and reduce the impact on taxpayers.  

“We were very intentional about right-sizing the plan based on community priorities and focusing on our ability to provide amazing educational opportunities and individualized instruction to our students for years to come,” said Superintendent Clay Corley. “By constructing a new high school, all feeder schools will experience relief from the current overcrowding.”

NDHS was built in 1980 when the district had 1,028 students, with additional facilities added in subsequent years to accommodate growth. The four North DeSoto schools currently serve more than 2,700 students, and the projected enrollment for 2027 will add nearly 1,000 additional students. Current facilities are unable to accommodate this type of growth.

The November 2023 proposal was for a total of $130 million (millage rate of 34.6) and included a new high school (for 1200 students), improvements to the lower elementary school, and athletic spaces. The April 2024 proposal significantly reduces costs to $85.2 million with a millage rate of 22. 

The plan still includes improved traffic patterns, expanded spaces for the Lower Elementary that eliminate the need for mobile classrooms and waiting lists for PreK programs, increased career and technical education spaces at the high school, and gaining classrooms across every grade level. 

“Building a new high school allows us to divide the remaining grade levels (PK3 - 8th) across four campuses instead of three,” said Superintendent Corley. “The expansion and renovation of the Lower Elementary provides additional capacity relief and better outfits that campus to meet the growing needs of our youngest learners.”

The DeSoto Parish School Board is dedicated to using other available funding sources to reduce the impact on the taxpayer whenever possible. The district has $13 million on hand that can be used for facility repairs and investments. This money will be used to cover soft costs, which are in addition to construction costs, and include items like furniture, fees, survey, testing services, and to pay for some of the construction costs.

Many items in the 2023 bond plan have been eliminated in the new proposal to better align with the community’s desire to focus on academics. With the new plan, the football stadium capacity will remain unchanged, and the new high school plan has been adjusted for capacity in the cafeteria (900 instead of 1,200) and the gymnasium (1,400 instead of 1,800). Instead of a full theater, the plan includes a 450-seat multipurpose space with retractable seating that can accommodate a variety of events and programs. 

Election Day is Saturday, April 27, 2024. The DeSoto Parish School Board will be sharing more information on its website and social media channels as well as hosting upcoming community meetings.

Learn more about the 2024 Bond Program