Board seeks more information on school calendar proposals

After hearing several calendar-change ideas Monday night from the Lawrence Education Assn., the Lawrence school board asked the group to gather more information on how such changes would save the district money.

“Before we bring chaos to people’s lives, we want to know this is best for the district,” said school board member Rich Minder. “I am personally afraid of chaos, but I am willing to listen to a proposal if it does help the district.”

The union representing Lawrence’s 900 public school teachers said it would like the board to consider a variety of options before laying off teachers and other staff.

“We are not coming to the board to tell them we have the answer,” said Wayne Kruse, association president. “We are saying this is what other districts are doing; it’s saving them money, and it is working.”

The proposals include:

  • Trimester: Instead of four nine-week periods, the school year would be divided into three 12-week periods. The association said this would give students more time to learn.
  • Four-day school week: The association said districts that followed this schedule had seen an increase in class participation and fewer absentee teachers, saving money on student-teacher costs.
  • Single-track calendar: This would keep the same number of weeks in a grading period but lengthen the breaks between periods. This model brings increased parent satisfaction, the union said.
  • Multiple-track calendar: Students are divided into equal groups, but all students are not in school at the same time. The union said all students would be on the same level according to grade, but they would attend school at different times.
In a 5-O vote Monday night, the Lawrence school board approved the sale of the former Riverside School building for $700,000 to Lawrence developer Doug Compton.In order for the purchase to be finalized, Compton will be responsible for having the property rezoned for use as a general industrial area.Compton, who plans to use the building for office space, has paid the district a $10,000 deposit for the building. The other $690,000 is due upon the closing date this summer.”What people need to know is that this price comes in above the city’s appraisal value,” said school board member Linda Robinson.Riverside is on 2.9 acres of land at 601 N. Iowa. Proceeds from the building’s sale will go to the district’s capital-outlay fund.