Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

Regular enrollment not expected to rise

July 6, 2006


Lawrence school officials on Wednesday projected a 445-student increase in the district's fall semester enrollment.

But the increase, they said, is not driven by an influx in new families. Instead, it's tied to a 350-student increase in the Lawrence Virtual School enrollment and the district's ability to count 95 adults taking part in its diploma completion program at the Douglas County Jail.

"We're not anticipating an increase in regular enrollment," said the district's finance director, Kathy Johnson.

Though Lawrence continues to grow, few of the city's newcomers - college students, retirees and "empty nesters," mostly - have school-age children.

Last year, district officials projected an additional 280 students, but only 57 showed up.

The shortfall resulted in the district losing roughly $850,000 in state aid.

Addressing a meeting of the school board, Johnson said the district is likely to receive an additional $2.3 million in state aid for the 2006-07 school year, assuming the Kansas Supreme Court upholds the Legislature's three-year, $466 million funding package.

The court heard arguments for and against the package last month but gave no indication when it would issue a ruling.

The school board has until July 31 to assemble a 2006-07 budget, followed by an Aug. 14 public hearing.

"We have no idea if we'll have the information we'll need by July 31," Johnson said.

Board member Sue Morgan shared Johnson's frustration. "We're in sort of a Never Never Land as far as scheduling goes," she said.

Though board members welcomed the prospects of receiving an additional $2.3 million, their enthusiasm was tempered by their having fielded more than $7 million in requests for additional spending. In other action, board members:

l Elected Morgan and board member Linda Robinson to a one-year terms as board president and vice president, respectively.

l Announced that Supt. Randy Weseman received an "excellent" performance rating and would serve another year.

l Approved a benefits package for teachers, including single-employee health insurance.

"We are comfortable with the package offered by the board," said Adela Solis, president of the Lawrence Education Assn.

The district's salary negotiations with teachers have stalled, pending the state Supreme Court's decision.


Jackson 11 years, 9 months ago

Middle & low income families will continue to leave Lawrence because of overpriced (and lack-of affordable) housing, particularly in Central Lawrence.

The flawed 1965 city ordinance that allows homes to be rented to three (or more) un-related renters in single family (SF) zoned neighborhoods is entirely responsible for this problem.

Families will continue to avoid Lawrence until the city commission prohibits rental to more than two (2) unrelated renters. Declining 497 enrollment will continue until 'starter' housing is fairly priced, and this will happen only when they are unnavailable to multiple-income renters.

SF zoned homes are being used as apartments, by de-facto, and are being used for the "business" of rental within single family zoned neighborhoods. These houses are worth 50% MORE for rental than for being owner-occupied.

Rental landlords have turned more than 45% of Central Lawrence (SF zoned) homes into student rentals.

Three (or more) unrelated renters should only be allowed in multi-family (MF) zonning.

Wake up, Taxpayers and voters.

Todd 11 years, 9 months ago

What's central Lawrence? Iowa and Mass by the river and 23rd st?

Godot 11 years, 9 months ago

Jackson, please, drag yourself, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. It is no longer 1965. The CURRENT ordinance regarding single family rental dwellings PROHIBITS, rather than allows, more than three unrelated individuals to reside in a single family rental home.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 9 months ago

And you'll also kindly note, Jackson, that here in the 21st century we address each other with consideration, respect, and honor each other's dignity. We correct them gently when they should be corrected, and we assume that they meant well by whatever they posted in the Readers' Forum.

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