Archive for Thursday, July 7, 2005

City’s schools preparing to possibly close

July 7, 2005


Lawrence Supt. Randy Weseman on Wednesday called on staff to prepare for a shutdown of public schools.

The implications of closing down the school system - Lawrence's second largest employer with about 1,800 employees - would be staggering, officials said.

Weseman said the district had funds to operate through July. Beyond that lies the unknown.

At a Supreme Court hearing Friday, justices ultimately could decide to shut off funding for schools in response to the Legislature's failure to meet the court's order requiring additional state aid to local districts. Weseman plans to join others in asking the court to make a few exceptions if the court decides to take this route.

The sought exceptions would include funds to make bond payments, pay for construction projects currently under way, utility payments, security costs, staff paychecks for July and August, and life, property, liability and self-funded health insurance.

The court has already suggested it would carve out some exceptions instead of imposing an absolute spending freeze.

But, in a worst-case scenario, the district would not have funds to educate students, pay vendors or employees - including about 880 teachers and other certified staff, Weseman said.

Would district employees be insured or paid in a worst-case scenario?

"I don't know right now that we can guarantee anything until we see what the ruling will be," board member Sue Morgan said.

Some students, such as those with special needs, are mandated service by the federal government. Not meeting their needs would leave the district vulnerable to lawsuits, Weseman said. And that is just one example of the many complications that would ensue, he said.

The district's payroll is about $35 million. Not paying employees would create a crisis, Weseman said.

"The district could be sued in a lot of different ways," he said. "That's what I'm trying to minimize right now."

The district contracts with hundreds of vendors. From April 26 to May 9, for example, the district paid about $630,000 to vendors, including Advance Commercial, Borders Bookstore, Checker's, Dominos Pizza, Hy-Vee, Laird Noller, Pet World and Radio Shack.

Without funds, the district couldn't make similar payments to providers of goods and services. Weseman said he must plan for the possibility the district would be unable to pay for telephone or Internet service, electricity or other basics.

"There are implications to shutting the water off," he said. "That could cause serious damage to the system."

For some, school closure is not only unprecedented, it's unfathomable.

"It's just unthinkable that they would shut the schools down," board president Leonard Ortiz said. "I just can't imagine that they would take that step. If they do, I think we've got a real crisis on our hands."


Richard Heckler 12 years, 8 months ago

The state managed to force legislators to do what's right although many no votes on funding tells you who would have allowed schools to shut down.

Yes votes on the constitutional amendment potentially could have done the same...shutting down the schools. Roger Pine was the only Lawrence delegate supporting the amendment. Next year the amendment will very very likely be back on the table.

The school funding fiasco will be showing next year as well. A five year funding plan would be best. Certain republicans certainly know how to waste time and money.

Tom Jones 12 years, 8 months ago

I think this whole situation is stupid...I mean kids HAVE to have a education...I think the state should stop wasting money on court cost and put that money toward education.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

If children are to have an education it won't be in these government child abuse centers. Visit to see the kind of trash your children are given by one of the worst, and most heavily financed, shool systems in the state.

These dungheaps don't need more money, they need accountability.

Hooray for the heroes who stood up to the judicial tyrants till the end.

usaschools 12 years, 8 months ago

One correction to Merrill's post, Rep. Anthony Brown from Eudora represents North Lawrence. Although he portrays himself as a moderate, his voting record shows him aligned with the extreme conservatives. He voted yes to the amendment.

John1945, it is sad that you believe this trashy propoganda and spew it on others. You have NO IDEA what is going on in our schools. If you did, you would realize the high degree of accountability that is already in place. It really bothers me that people who are completely ignorant about schools, their funding issues, and the history of this specific court case step in and add their 2 cents worth, and that is all it is worth, on issues they know NOTHING about.

I am confident the average reader can tell john1945's posts should be dismissed as fanatical ravings, but it is the responsiblity of others to be informed prior to participating in the democratic process.

Lulu 12 years, 8 months ago

There will never be enough money for our education system. Teachers don't get paid enough. Will the teachers get a raise after the court ordered windfall appears? I doubt it.

Thank god there is ritalin for our children. If it wasn't for ritalin the schools would've shut down years ago.

hammysammy 12 years, 8 months ago

John 1945-All one would have to do to read "vulgar" matter is link to your website, and read all the "smut" that is so helpfully displayed so prominenently throughout, taken out of context by the way, so then it truly doesn't have any meaning. Thanks for the link to such an hilarious site! My friends and I have been making fun of it all morning!

kugrad 12 years, 8 months ago

John1945 provides a link to a truly outrageous, sadly humorous site. On this site you can read the opinions of those who oppose the freedom to think - self-appointed censors who seek to ban great literature from the classrooms.

Reading through the list of books used in Blue Valley (the target of this website I guess), I recognize many excellent titles, which (unlike those who run the website I am guessing) I have actually read, and which are totally appropriate for children of the ages with which they are used. Those who would ban books that are recognized as great literature have no credibility on any issue.

Horace 12 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully they shoud close the schools. School makes children liberal. They shoud be praying or working instead.

kugrad 12 years, 8 months ago

So, learning to read, understand math, become literate, and understand science and social studies makes one liberal? Using your logic, and assuming that the opposite of making children liberal is to make them conservative, then praying (presumably to a God whose holy book the child cannot read [being illiterate]), and working makes one not only totally ignorant but also a conservative? Horace, get a life.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

To ussaschools:

I know, anyone who has the gall to ask you guys to come up with stadndarized, understandable budgets is just misinformed. Well inform us. Sow us how poor you poor tykes are in understandable and comparable figures.

If we're misinformed about public schools, it's because these child abuse centers want us to be misinformed. They have tons of publicists and lobbyists who could inform us at the drop of a hat - if they wanted to.

The simple fact is that our schools are overfunded and underperforming. What money that is sent their way disappears like it had been sent to a third world dictator.

If these "educators" weren't holding our children for ransom, they wouldn't get a dime.

As to those who like the garbage being poured into the schools, keep up the good work guys. Just keep on laughing at sites like Already two major religious denominations have debated resolutions in favor of pulling their children out of these sewers, and you're providing us with even more ammuition through your calloused attitides towards the educrats' victims.

Celeste Plitz 12 years, 8 months ago

Yet another example of what happens when our government is more concerned with what happens outside our country than inside-what about siphoning funds from the production of WMDs and putting it into completely re-hauling the educational system? It could sure use it! Then maybe we wouldn't be in this situation. And in response to the klasskc website...very sad. Literature is meant to be taken as a whole work-not bits and pieces taken out of context. Frankly, I was suprised Harry Potter wasn't on the list! (which is probably one of the most benign banned books out there) Maybe, if parents took to the time to actually read these books, instead of depending on someone else to decide if it's vulgar or not, there wouldn't be a need for "watch dog" groups. I know I read many of these titles in school, and seriously? Reading them didn't pervert me. Really. Give kids some credit-they aren't stupid.

usaschools 12 years, 8 months ago

John1945, you are simply ranting like a lunatic! There are no truly major religious denominations who have seriously considered recommending that their followers remove their students from public schools. That is hogwash, plain and simple. Similarly, I'm not laughing at your ridiculous website, I'm condemning it as the work of extremists. Who else would complain about the great books listed there?

Your straw man is this baloney about standardized, understandable budgets. There is no reason for each district to use a standard budget, and if you can't understand them, it's because they are complicated! The law of the land, which was NOT set by educators, but by politicians, makes it so! School finance IS complicated, so are district budgets! However, you can't blame educators for that - well, you could, but you would be showing your ignorance of these matters!

Your "simple fact" is simply wrong! You can repeat the tired canard that schools are overfunded and underperforming all you want, but it doesn't make it any less false. It is simply a lie. Not a matter of opinion, a bit of propoganda, a falsehood, a complete fabrication, a sophism, a lie! You can't prove that, because it isn't true!Just like the propoganda on your misinformation web site. Lies repeated don't equal truth. Our schools are underfunded. The State has proven this through 3 studies they commissioned and which were not conducted by educators themselves. Our schools are not underperforming, that is ridiculous when the facts are examined.

The most ridicuous part of your post, and that is saying a lot when the post is from someone so out of touch with reality that they constantly refer to schools as "child abuse centers" is when you BLAME YOUR OWN IGNORANCE about public schools on the schools themselves and their "publicists and lobbyists" (I assume you are speaking of the KNEA?). That is a good one. ROTFLMAO! I'm sure that you regularly dismiss any factual information that comes from these sources as lies, yet you blame them for your own misunderstanding and ignorance. Righteous. That makes my day. You really should go into writing satire!

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

To ussaschools:

One of the Presbyterian denominations and the Southern Baptist denominations have discussed resolutions on pulling their children from the government child abuse centers.

At this point those resolutions have not been successful. However, as the costs of filling your trough and your arrogance continue to grow while the quality of what you do continues its precipitous slide, I suspect they'll be revisited and all of your name-calling and insults aren't going to stop the criticisms and demands for reparations for the damage you've done to this country's children.

usaschools 12 years, 8 months ago

"One of the Presbyterian denominations" and "the Southern Baptist Demominations?" Give me a break. No major branch of either church has every seriously debated pulling their kids from public schools. Maybe some nutcase introduced the resolution at both places and they discussed it long enough to vote it down, but serious consideration? No way.

You keep up your regular stream of lies about the quality of public education (this time saying it is declining), but you have no evidence, nor will you. I leave most of the name calling to you (Mr. Child Abuse Centers), but I haven't done ANY damage to this country's children. Our public schools will always seek to improve. Too bad they will always face opposition from close minded people who know nothing of the facts, but are full of silly opinions.

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