Archive for Wednesday, July 15, 1992


July 15, 1992


A Lawrence school committee's recommendations for new secondary schools will be accompanied by two minority reports when they are presented to the Lawrence school board Thursday night.

The board also is scheduled to receive facilities recommendations Thursday from an elementary school task force as well as approve the district's 1992-93 budget for publication. The board will meet at 7 p.m. at the district's Service Center, 3705 Clinton Pkwy.

Under recommendations from the Commission on Mid-Level and High School Education:

Voters in November would be asked to approve a bond issue to build a fourth junior high school and renovate both Lawrence High School and Central Junior High School.

In November 1994, voters would be asked to approve a bond issue for a second high school. When construction of the high school is complete, ninth-graders would move from the junior high to the high school level, and junior high schools for grades seven through nine would become middle schools for grades six through eight.

TOM MURRAY, commission vice chairman and a member of the school board, has submitted five pages of "Remarks of Vice-chairman" to accompany the group's report. The remarks are submitted "to clarify and expand upon two important issues studied by the Commission: The feasibility of adding additional classroom space at Lawrence High School, and `middle schools,'" says Murray's written report.

The commission's recommendation does not call for additional classrooms at LHS, saying that "changes to the current high school should include only renovations to the current space the footprint of the high school should not be enlarged."

However, Murray says in his report that he would like to see additional classrooms built within the "footprint" of LHS.

Murray's report also reiterates a point he's made in the past, that if Lawrence is to have middle schools, he does not want them patterned after those found in the Topeka, Shawnee Mission or Blue Valley school districts, all of which, Murray said, have shortcomings.

Five other members of the commission Graham Bailey, Khabira Gruber, Ron Lang, Mick Lowe and Fred Rodriguez also have submitted a minority report to accompany the commission's recommendation.

ACCORDING TO the report, those members had concerns about the decision-making process of the commission.

"One of the primary tasks that the Board of Education specifically indicated to the Commission was to `take responsibility to communicate with the public,'" the report says. However, the report claims, "This was not done in any systematic manner during the past 18 months."

The report also laments that the commission failed to vote, for the record, on several specific issues.

The 15-page minority report says issues that could have been formally accepted or rejected by the commission include the middle school concept, an ideal school enrollment size, year-round school and which grades should be housed at the junior high school and high school levels.

THE RECOMMENDATIONS of the Elementary School Facility Task Force call for presenting to voters as soon as possible a bond issue to:

Replace India School by building a new school on district-owned property southeast of 23rd and Haskell streets. The recommendation calls for enough classrooms to accommodate two classes at each grade level and service facilities to serve three classes at each grade level should the school someday be expanded.

Building an addition to Wakarusa Valley School to expand it from a one-section to a two-section school to be able to serve two classes at each grade level. The recommendation also calls for expanding the school's service facilities to be able to serve three sections.

Building a new three-section school west of Iowa Street on a site to be determined by the school board.

The board also is scheduled Thursday to approve the district's 1992-93 budget for publication. Once a budget has been published, the board may decrease the size of the budget but may not increase it. A public hearing will be held Aug. 10, after which the board is expected to approve the budget.

THE BOARD has approved general fund spending that is about $1,080,000 higher than in its 1991-92 budget. That amount is just above the additional $1,052,400 the district will receive through the statewide 32-mill levy.

The board has the option of raising that general fund mill levy by as much as 7.4 mills to bring in as much as $2.9 million in additional revenue. A mill is $1 of property tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuations.

The board will need to exercise that local option to provide any type of salary increase to teachers and other employees. Lawrence teacher negotiations have gone to impasse, with the Lawrence Education Assn. requesting a 9.95 percent increase and the school board offering a 6.95 increase in the amount of money spent on teacher salaries and fringe benefits.

IN OTHER business Thursday, the board is scheduled to:

Consider approving a textbook for the human sexuality course at LHS.

Consider approving an agreement for participation in the national school lunch, school breakfast and kindergarten special milk program for the 1992-93 school year.

Consider approving purchase contracts for: milk for the 1992-93 school year, food and nonfood supplies, repair of the pool at LHS, administrative and instructional computers, portable classrooms for West Junior High School, new heating and air conditioning units for the Explorations in Technology program at West and Central junior high schools and roof repairs for LHS and West.

Designate inclement weather days for the 1992-93 calendar.

Hold an executive session to discuss property and negotiations strategy.

The board will meet again at 3 p.m. Friday to discuss solutions to school space needs.

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