The Lawrence school bond issue approved Tuesday night didn't make schools any less crowded today, but it changed the school environment in another way, a local teacher says.
"I think there are going to be a lot of smiling faces tomorrow in the schools in Lawrence, Kansas," Sue Hack, a teacher at South Junior High School, said Tuesday night. "We really felt the crowding this year more than ever before, but now the end is in sight, and we have things to hope for."
Also, Hack said, "It really gives you a good feeling inside to know that the community is in support of our schools."
South, which has a capacity of about 625 students, saw its enrollment climb to about 809 this year. The school's 10 portable classrooms serve about one-third of the student body.
The $29.9 million bond issue will finance the construction of a fourth junior high school and provide relief for the crowding at South.
One of the district's crowded elementary schools is India School, where five of the seven grades are taught in portable classrooms. Also crowded is Wakarusa Valley School, which is using four portable classrooms.
Donna Heffner, librarian at both India and Wakarusa Valley, said she is glad the improvements funded by the bond issue will allow the schools to get rid of portable classrooms.
"IT WILL provide us with facilities that are a lot more accessible to our students," Heffner said. "It's hard to have your program accessible to students when they have to walk between buildings in the rain or snow or cold."
Since Wakarusa Valley began using portables last school year, Heffner said, teachers often take library materials to their portable classrooms instead of rounding up their students for a trip to the library.
"That's not teaching students the life skill of using information services," she said.
Also, Heffner said, "Both of my libraries are too small for the number of students I have right now. I'm really looking forward to having the space and materials that will meet the needs of all of the kids."
Meanwhile, at Lawrence High School, biology teacher Stan Roth is looking forward to the $7.2 million in improvements slated for the school.
An estimated $1.4 million will go toward upgrading the electrical system at the 38-year-old school.
"There are glitches that crop up. Fuses blow, and many times the source of the problem can't be found because so much retrofitting has gone on," Roth said.
He said the $500,000 slated for plumbing also should help. When students head for the bathrooms and water fountains between classes, "you can hardly get a faucet to turn on because the water pressure just goes down to zilch," Roth said.
BUT ROTH is concerned that the planned improvements will do little to address the school's growing enrollment, which is expected to go from about 1,800 students now to more than 2,200 by the 1996-97 school year.
"It's going to help, but it still makes things scary for the future because I still detect a resistance on the part of a component of our community to accept that we must have at least have one more high school," Roth said.
He said he expects to see portable classrooms dotting the LHS campus soon.