The conclusions reached two years ago by a secondary schools task force have been misrepresented in a brochure being distributed by the Lawrence school board, the chairman of the task force maintains.
Edwyna Gilbert, who headed the Secondary Schools Facilities Task Force created in 1987, said recently in a letter to the Journal-World that the school board is "completely inaccurate" in saying the task force was "widely divided" in its vote. That statement appears in a school brochure that explains why the board favored two four-year high schools over the task force recommendation, which called for the present high school to house grades 9-10 and a new building to house grades 11-12.
GILBERT SAID members of the task force were asked to write down their first choice of the options. Of the 18 members who voted, seven favored one four-year high school, three voted for two high schools, seven preferred a mid-high/senior high and one voted for the present three-year high school.
At the end of the same meeting, however, the task force voted 14-4 for the mid-high/senior high proposal. "No minority report was filed," wrote Gilbert, associate dean of Kansas University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
School Board President Maggie Carttar, who voted for the mid-high/senior high as a member of the task force, said she later changed her mind. She maintained the task force was divided, citing the 7-7-3-1 vote when members named their individual preferences.
"If that's not a tremendously split vote, I don't know what is," she said.
And during three public forums held after the task force made its recommendation, "there was little support from the community for the mid-high/senior high split," Carttar said.
BOARD MEMBER Mary Lou Wright said she initially favored the mid-high/senior high recommendation but thought it should be in place at least five years so it would have a chance to work.
She said she realized that if a new building couldn't be in use before the 1992-93 school year, the mid-high/senior-high would be in place for only three years before the district had 3,100 students in grades nine through 12, and pressure would increase to split the district between two high schools.
Gilbert said she stands behind the task force recommendation.
"I think the decision we made was the right one. I'm against splitting the community. I don't think we need to have two high schools in Lawrence at this time," she said.