To the editor:
Two separate broad-based education task forces and every recent 497 school board have supported a move toward a mid-level education structure. This is not only a good Lawrence idea; this is what the best school systems nationwide have done.
Despite these clear objectives, the upcoming bond issue supports an outdated 7-8-9 junior high. This plan avoids a mid-level system with a promise to get to this issue later.
This bond issue is the result of a compromise reached during the change of superintendents. Our new superintendent arrived at a time when the daunting task of redirecting this bond issue would have been politically impossible.
Passing the upcoming bond issue is not the worst that can happen to USD 497; it's just not the best. I believe a better idea is to quickly approve $9 million for the grade school needs plus another $1 million for the absolute necessities of Central Junior High and Lawrence High. These are needed badly and do not detract from our mid-level educaton goals. The thorny issue of our high school options can't be wished away with a $7.2 million renovation and I am not comfortable with $8.6 million for a junior high that does not suit our stated goals.
Such an alternative will permit our new superintendent the opportunity to solve the pressing problems and lead the district in a coherent long-term plan to provide excellent mid-level and high school education. All these construction efforts will take years to complete, so let's not be hurried into a compromise.
My apologies to our hard-working board, but I plan to support education with a no vote now and yes vote when I see leadership instead of compromise.
James C. Brooke,
3101 Riverview Rd.