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Archive for Tuesday, February 15, 1994

BOARD OPPOSES CROSS-TOWN BUSING

February 15, 1994

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Cross-town busing is not in the Lawrence school board's plans for achieving diversity at junior high schools.

Lawrence school board members say they value socioeconomic diversity at junior high schools but do not support cross-town busing as a means to that end.

The school board made that clear at its Monday meeting, sparking a round of applause at one point. About 65 people attended the discussion on junior high boundaries.

"I am opposed to massive, cross-town busing at any level," said board member Tom Murray.

Board member Mary Loveland agreed that cross-town busing has considerable disadvantages, such as complicating students' involvement in school activities.

"I hate to add the stress of considerable distance in there when it was not necessary before," she said.

The district's Boundary Committee had developed three boundary proposals involving cross-town busing and one proposal without such busing. The board directed the committee to try to modify the latter proposal to provide a slightly greater balance among the schools.

Under the proposal, 40.8 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches would attend Central Junior High School. The figure would be 15.4 percent at West Junior High School, 28.9 percent at South Junior High School, and 14.8 percent at Southwest Junior High School, which will open in 1995.

The proposal's distribution of minority students would be 37.1 percent at Central, 23.5 percent at West, 28.1 percent at South, and 11.3 percent at Southwest.

Murray said diversity among the junior high schools would be of greater concern if Lawrence had more than one high school. However, he said, "we have automatic socioeconomic integration for three years" with one high school.

But Loveland said she didn't see "having one high school forever as the only way to have equity, similar levels of diversity, etc."

Board Vice President Jerry Hannah said cross-town busing isn't needed as long as the district provides equal educational opportunities at all schools.

Hannah said he's concerned that "we have the same type of resources in our libraries, that we have the same type of technology in all of our schools."

Board member Renee Karr agreed.

"I'd rather spend the money on the textbooks. I'd rather spend the money on computers. I'd rather spend the money on teachers than spend it on four wheels," she said.

The board will hold a public forum on junior high boundaries at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Lawrence High School auditorium, 1901 La.

If the boundary committee has developed some modifications to the main proposal before then, the school board might meet to discuss the modifications.

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