To the editor:
As a parent, former teacher and taxpayer, I should like to give a few words of praise to Gary Condra's long-range school plan, which he presented to the Commission on Mid-Level and High School Education as reported in the J-W Jan. 10. Very simply stated, Condra's plan calls for one (11-12) senior high school, two (9-10) middle high schools, three or four (7-8) middle schools, and the current 17 (K-6) elementary schools.
As a parent, I like the plan because ninth-graders would not have to adjust to, or get lost in, a giant senior high school of ninth- 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders. The middle schools would give children such as mine a chance to adjust to the larger schools gradually without the crowded conditions we have now.
As a former teacher, I can see advantages in having secondary schools where the maturity level is as close as possible and a variety of programs could be presented, perhaps with modified magnet schools (9-10) where students can have a choice.
As a taxpayer on a limited income, I and others like me would not have to pay for two large senior high schools and two gyms, two swimming pools and other facilities to make them equal. Sixth-graders could be added to middle schools later to reduce the need to build more elementary schools.
Finally, citizens of Lawrence would not have the problems of split loyalties with two senior high schools, and the almost hopeless task of drawing boundary lines and building schools to make everything fair and equal. Lawrence could remain unified in spirit and could continue its splendid athletic program and its winning ways. More students would also have a chance to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities with the 11-12, 9-10 and 7-8 divisions.
I trust the commission and the people of Lawrence will consider Condra's plan very seriously. No plan is perfect, of course, and I'm sure critics can and will find flaws in it or in any other proposal. His plan, however, seems to me to combine the most advantages and the fewest disadvantages of any of the programs so far presented.
610 W. 29th Pl.