Projected growth for the Lawrence community will be the first topic discussed by a Lawrence school commission as it tries to determine how best to meet the needs of local secondary school students.
That was the decision of the Commission on Mid-Level and High School Education at its meeting Wednesday. The commission also decided the order in which nine other issues would be discussed.
Bob Johnson Sr., chairman of the commission, stressed that selecting the order of topic discussion was for organizational purposes only.
"We are not trying to determine which of these is more important than the other but simply which should be talked about first," Johnson said.
The commission was formed by the Lawrence school board to study secondary school needs following the voters' rejection in November of a proposed bond issue to build a second high school. A projection of steady population growth in Lawrence was one of the district's main arguments for advocating a second high school.
BRAD TATE, principal at Lawrence High School and a member of the commission, said it was important to have a good idea of what the future growth of the district will be.
"If we don't have a growth problem, the commission should just fold," Tate said.
Mick Lowe, principal at West Junior High School, disagreed, saying that new school programs might be better implemented if the district changed its school structure.
School structure will be the second topic of discussion and will involve the question of whether ninth-graders should be at the junior high or senior high level.
The next eight topics to be discussed will be facilities, cost and funding, curriculum, school size, equity issues, boundaries, personnel and transportation. The commission has not determined the order of discussion for six other topics technology, extra-curricular activities, political feasibility of final proposal, government regulations, community support and school climate.
THE COMMISSION previously had named "students" as a discussion topic. However, the commission decided Wednesday that students were central to the group's work and therefore did not need to be a separate topic.
"The needs of the kids that's the fabric that surrounds the whole thing," Lowe said.
The commission will meet next on Feb. 27 at West Junior High School to discuss projected community growth.