To the editor:
As a long-term classroom volunteer and a parent of four children in the Lawrence public schools (two in high school) I am well-acquainted with the overcrowding in our present buildings. Over the past months, I have weighed the benefits and drawbacks of the school bond issue. I agree that we need more space, but I am unhappy about the school board's reneging on its commitment to change to middle schools.
I was distressed when I heard the vice chair of the middle level-secondary commission publicly declare that he had no intention of supporting the second bond issue for the high school. I had not expected the commission leadership to oppose the recommendation of the majority of the commission. After listening to discussions at several commission meetings, I was well aware of the division among the members of the task force and knew there was a minority report calling for the high school to be voted on now, not in two years.
From the beginning, the members holding the minority position on the commission expressed concern that the public would be unwilling to support two major bond issues within two years. That still seems likely to me given that passing the first will ease the elementary space crunch. Without the second stage to build a second high school and convert to middle schools, we will have spent $29.9 million and will have done nothing to truly improve our educational program for Lawrence students.
I urge the voting public to consider what message their votes will convey. I, for one, want to see the whole package passed. And I fear that this will not happen, nor is it hoped for by some of the commission leadership. Therefore, my no vote will be to say to the board, "Please go back again and come up with a proposal that lets me vote for the educational as well as space needs of our Lawrence school children."
Karen Simmons Erb,