To the editor:
Declining enrollment should come as no surprise to school administrators, the board of education or city commissioners.
Fewer families is the result of unaffordable housing in Lawrence. Enrollment will continue to decline because many young families cannot afford Lawrence $137,000 "starter homes," and they won't pay for the overpriced, overtaxed small houses in central Lawrence.
Better, cheaper housing and lower taxes are why young families are moving to Eudora, Baldwin, De Soto and Tonganoxie, instead of Lawrence.
Central Lawrence $120,000 houses are small "fixer-uppers" that, when fixed-up, are small $150,000 houses. They also are undesirably located among student rental housing. Families recognize this as a bad investment.
Overpriced, rundown houses in central Lawrence are mostly rented, at excessive rates, to people with no children. This is an incompatible "mix" for healthy neighborhoods and schools. Unaffordable housing and ineffective zoning are responsible for the exodus of young families and school closures.
The current ordinance, limiting unrelated renters to three in single-family zoning is ineffective, and must be changed to two. This will permit the return of families to central Lawrence, whose children will again fill existing schools.