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Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

Board candidates transferred children

March 30, 2003

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Two Lawrence school board candidates fighting to keep open "neighborhood" schools chose to transfer their children to schools outside assigned boundary areas.

Cille King and Rich Minder, who oppose closure of the East Heights and Centennial elementary schools as part of the district's proposed $59 million bond issue, said Saturday the transfers had no bearing on their position on consolidation.

"Closing schools will decrease options. You're eliminating a lot of possibilities," King said.

King transferred her two children from Pinckney School, where they were assigned, to Grant School. She said her son was harassed by Pinckney students. She also said the academic setting at Grant -- it was the district's smallest elementary when closed last year -- was better for her children.

Her son is at Free State High School in accordance with current district boundaries, but a daughter who is assigned to attend West Junior High School is at Central Junior High School.

"We really think Central is a better school," King said.

Minder lives in the Cordley School attendance area, but his son will enroll this fall in kindergarten at New York School.

Minder said the reason was that his family would probably move into the New York boundary area in late 2004.

"Basically, I want my kids ... not to make a lot of transitions," he said.

Only one of the six other board candidates has a child who attended a school outside his or her designated attendance area.

Incumbent candidate Mary Loveland, an advocate for school consolidation, bought a second home in 1987 so a daughter could go to Free State. The family's main residence was in the Lawrence High School area.

"That was not a transfer," Loveland said. "The house was owned."

Loveland's children went through Deerfield School, West, LHS and Free State.

Scott Morgan, an incumbent supporting consolidation, said the situation illustrated that the definition of neighborhood school was a moving target.

"It also shows our schools are really community schools rather than neighborhood schools," Morgan said.

He has two children at Sunflower School and one at Southwest Junior High School.

Michael Pomes, a candidate opposed to the bond, said actions of King and Minder shouldn't weaken the resolve of people fighting for small, neighborhood schools.

"Your talking about an isolated case," said Pomes, who has no children in the district.

His daughter went to Broken Arrow School, South Junior High School and LHS.

Here's a breakdown of schools attended by children of other candidates:

  • Bond supporter Sue Morgan had two children who went to Quail Run, Sunflower schools, South, Southwest and LHS.
  • Bond critic Leonard Ortiz has two children at Schwegler School.
  • Bond supporter Cindy Yulich, has one child at Quail Run and one at Southwest.

Voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide the bond issue and elect four school board members.

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