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Archive for Sunday, January 9, 2005

Academy may not accept LAHS students

January 9, 2005

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Since learning Lawrence Alternative High School will close, some parents have considered an alternative school in Lecompton for their children next year.

But it seems unlikely that LAHS students could go to the John Dewey Learning Academy.

The 38-student public school is funded by state and federal grants and payments from seven school districts.

Students come to the school for a variety of reasons, ranging from behavior problems to having fallen behind because of health issues, said academy principal Terri Coughlin.

Each school district pays $5,600 yearly for each student.

The seven districts are McLouth, Oskaloosa, Valley Falls, Jefferson County North, Jefferson West, Perry-Lecompton and Atchison County Community Schools. But the Lawrence district is not part of the consortium, so parents would need to foot the bill. And it is still not clear that the students would be accepted.

Coughlin said four or five LAHS parents called her at the beginning of December, after news of the closure spread.

"Everybody's kind of settled back down," Coughlin said. "We'll probably start getting them again in the spring."

It hasn't been decided whether Lawrence parents could pay to send their children to the academy, said James Wheeler, executive director of the Northeast Kansas Education Service Center, a cooperative of the seven districts.

He said he wasn't sure he wanted to ask the board to approve admitting Lawrence students. And if a Lawrence family moved into one of the cooperative's school districts, that wouldn't guarantee transfer to the academy, Wheeler said.

Participating districts decide yearly how many slots they want to buy in the academy, which is already near capacity, he said.

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