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Archive for Wednesday, January 20, 1999

COMMISSION EYES JOINING PLANNING WITH SCHOOL BOARD

January 20, 1999

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City officials are hoping to team up with the Lawrence school district for long-range planning involving new homes and schools.

Lawrence city commissioners want to cooperate and plan with their counterparts at the Lawrence school district.

Even if nobody else has figured out how.

"We're going to be the model," Commissioner John Nalbandian said. "Whatever we do, we're going to be the model. I think we ought to push on."

And with that, commissioners agreed Tuesday to proceed with overtures for joint planning with the district when it comes to the city's residential growth.

Mayor Marty Kennedy said he hoped to set up a study session, within a month, for commissioners and members of the Lawrence school board to discuss planning for the future of schools and neighborhoods.

Commissioners received a report from staffers that reviewed communications in eight similar communities -- from Ames, Iowa to University Park, Tex. -- between cities and school districts. The report includes nine recommendations for improving long-range planning.

Nalbandian added two more:

  • Create an annual report that summarizes the city's residential growth and growth projections, and then show how those patterns would affect the district's schools.
  • Ask district officials to review all requests for residential rezoning in the city, and note where children in those areas could expect to attend schools.

The key: Communication. People buying property in a new subdivision should have a pretty good idea ahead of time where their children will be educated, Nalbandian said.

"I think people have a right to know," he said.

Commissioner Bob Moody suggested creating a joint five-year capital improvements plan for the city, district and Douglas County. That way, he said, taxpayers would have an idea of what big-ticket items they could be expected to finance in the coming years.

School board members are expected to discuss the city report during their meeting Monday night.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is mfagan@ljworld.com.

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