Archive for Tuesday, November 26, 1991


November 26, 1991


If you have an idea about what to name any of Lawrence's three junior high schools, the Lawrence school board is open to suggestions.

The school board Monday night called for public input to consider renaming Central, South and West Junior High Schools. Board members said they would like to hear from the public on this issue in the next two weeks.

Movements to rename Central and South Junior High Schools have been under way for almost two years. In March 1990, a group of Lawrence residents asked that the school be renamed Liberty Memorial Junior High School. A month later, the board was approached about changing the name of South Junior High to something that honored Native Americans.

But Monday night marked the first time the possibility of renaming West Junior High School was mentioned.

"As soon as we start with this, somebody's going to have a name for West. We might as well do it at one time," said board member Alice Fowler.

THE SCHOOL board will form a committee to consider the name changes after the public comment period is finished. The board did not determine who or how many people would be on the committee, but mentioned that student representation and senior citizen participation would be a good idea.

Supt. Dan Neuenswander asked the board if such a committee would consider retaining the current names of the three junior high schools. The board answered yes.

Not all board members agreed that the names should be changed. Board member Harriet Shaffer, who has a child attending South Junior High, said she had "very major concerns" with changing the schools' names.

"The kids, in talking about it at school, have an identity that they have tied in with South Junior High School," she said. "I didn't find that the kids were particularly interested."

Board member John Tacha took a differing view.

"I'M VERY much in favor of looking at the idea of renaming both Central and South," he said prior to discussion about also changing West's name. "I think it's got some historical value, which I think is good, because it causes people to go back and look at histories of towns."

If Central is renamed, Liberty Memorial likely would be the choice. The building opened in 1923 as Liberty Memorial High School, with the name honoring the 19 Lawrence High School alumni who died in World War I.

When the current high school opened in the 1950s, the building became Lawrence Junior High School. The school assumed the named Central when West Junior High opened in 1960.

Concerning a possible new name for South, board member Tom Murray said he had talked with a Native American school district employee, who suggested the name "Indian Hills." Indian Hills also is the name of a housing subdivision in South's district.

SOUTH'S SITE once belonged to Haskell Indian Junior College. The land was given to the district by the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In other business, the board:

Took no action after a lengthy discussion on a proposed management audit proposal. Board president Mary Loveland said the board would meet an hour early, at 6:30 p.m., for its Dec. 9 meeting, to collect more budget preparation information about classified personnel. She said the board would do an internal study before "we conclude that it would be useful to have an outside firm audit."

Board members said they wanted to clarify what the management audit would cover should they proceed with it. The proposed audit would cover the district's top management, not the entire school district operations. Tacha said a similar audit of the Blue Valley district included the superintendent, assistant superintendent, the division directors, and "perhaps" the curriculum coordinators. If such an audit was done in Lawrence, he said, it would only cover about 17 percent of the district's budget.

Murray said he was interested in an audit that would include looking at the non-collectively bargained budget. "It isn't just personnel," he said. Murray mentioned looking at possible duplication of services and later added transportation.

Approved applying for the Title V "Indian Education Act Grant" for the 1992-93 school year. The federal grant is for $47,794 and will assist the Native American students in the district.

Reviewed the progress of the Lawrence public schools' goals, which cover the time period from Dec. 10, 1990, to June 30, 1992.

Took no action in an executive session on a personnel matter.

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