Archive for Tuesday, January 14, 1992


January 14, 1992


Although two requests have been made to show videos on the Lawrence school district's Sunflower Cablevision channel, the Lawrence school board Monday decided it first should develop a policy on the channel's use before expanding its access.

It was in September that Sunflower Cablevision first established Channel 47 for use by Unified School District 497. Since then, the bi-monthly Lawrence school board meetings have been televised live on the channel.

Mike Eltschinger, India School principal and chairman of the district's Technology Committee, has asked to air a video about the use of technology in schools. Another video in which New York School students tell what they are getting from their education also is ready to be aired.

BUT FIRST, said board member Alice Fowler, "We need to have the wheels in motion for a policy that governs this whole thing. We want to be able to control what goes on it (the channel)."

Lawrence School Supt. Dan Neuenswander agreed, saying, "It seems to me that maybe it's time the board discuss to what extent it wants to use that channel."

Board members cited one case in which members of the Ku Klux Klan requested air time on a Kansas City public access channel and the controversial issues that surrounded the case. Board member Tom Murray also wanted to know if board members could be sued if something libelous is aired on the channel.

BOARD MEMBER Harriet Shaffer said this morning that given a proposed bond issue to expand school facilities, another issue might be whether to give opponents equal time on the channel.

"We obviously need to have a policy indicating what our position would be," Shaffer said.

Neuenswander said district administrators could look at other school districts that have access to television channels to discuss what policies they have developed.

"There are several models we could use," he said.

Neuenswander said district administrators also would look into the costs involved in expanding use of Channel 47 beyond school board meetings.

ALSO ON Monday, the board voted 6-1 to give conditional board endorsement to Future Astronaut Training Program scholarships, which the American Association of University Women (AAUW) would like to offer to three female junior high students.

Organizations need not obtain board endorsement of scholarships, but the Kansas University chapter of the AAUW requested the board's support. Fowler voted against the endorsement, saying she didn't understand "why we would endorse this particular one (scholarship) when we don't normally do that."

Murray said he wanted to make sure the board wasn't doing something legally discriminatory by endorsing scholarships to be offered only to women.

Board President Mary Loveland said AAUW representatives hope to encourage more young women to enter fields of science. In that context, said Board Vice President Barbara Ballard, offering the scholarships only to women "is affirmative action in that it is a minority group that has been discriminated against."

Still, board members agreed that the endorsement would be made official pending approval from school district attorneys.

IN OTHER business Monday, the board:

Voted 7-0 to maintain Mayflower Contract Services as the district's school transportation provider for the 1992-93 school year. The board in December had considered opening the district's transportation contract to bids from other companies.

When the board accepted the low bid from Mayflower for the 1990-91 school year, the district retained the option to extend the contract for two more years.

Received public comment from Michael Brown, a nurse at Haskell Indian Junior College, on the issues of school bus safety and teen pregnancy.

Brown, who has actively supported efforts to reduce the number of teen pregnancies, said he was pleased with a new youth pregnancy prevention program established by the 1991 Kansas Legislature. The program received $100,000 in first-year funding to establish local projects in Shawnee and Cowley counties, he said.

Brown also discussed a bill to be considered by the 1992 Legislature that would require safety belts for children ages 4 to 13 riding school buses that weigh 10,000 pounds or less. Brown cited statistics compiled by the National Research Council Transportation Research Board showing that 9,500 school bus passengers are injured annually in the United States. From 1977-89, 120 U.S. children ages 14 or younger were killed in accidents involving school buses, Brown said.

The board took no action following its discussion with Brown.

SCHEDULED study sessions for Jan. 30 and Feb. 4 to examine the district's curriculum. The meetings will be at 7:30 p.m. at the district's Service Center, 3705 Clinton Pkwy.

Held an executive session on personnel, professional negotiations and site acquisition and sale.

Heard concerns from Salvation Army officials that the district's decision to raise school building rental fees this year was costing the organization more to run its Biddy basketball program. Board members said they would look into the situation.

Held an hourlong study session before the regular board meeting as part of an ongoing study of the district's budget. The board on Monday looked at the costs involved when teachers are paid to work extra days.

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