Two key commissioners don't see the city joining the school board in asking voters in April to approve tax increases.
City commissioners have discussed putting a sales tax increase on the ballot to fund street improvements. And on Monday, Lawrence school board member Rich Minder said it made some sense for voters to consider the city's sales tax question at the time they act on the school's request for an extra $680,000 in property taxes.
But an April 1 vote is too much, too soon for city officials.
"I think it's just too short" of a time period, City Commissioner Mike Amyx said Tuesday.
Amyx said the city would want several months for supporters to lobby and persuade voters. So the city probably wouldn't be ready for any ballot questions before the August primary election, he said.
Besides that, the city's budget runs on a calendar year, while the school district's new budget goes into effect July 1.
These tax issues, however, have brought to light some frustrations school board members have with city commissioners. At their meeting Monday, some board members said they thought too many conversations between the city and school district focus on city infrastructure needs - and not enough on education.
"It shouldn't be a competition. That's what I don't want it to become," said Craig Grant, school board vice president. "That's why I hope my words aren't too harsh, but I just think there must be a way to work better together than we are now."
Mayor Sue Hack agreed. And next week, she and school board president Linda Robinson will meet next week with administrators to talk through issues, Hack said Tuesday.
Part of the rift between the city and school board stems from how the two groups handled future funding for the WRAP program, which puts Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center clinical social workers in schools.
The school district funded the program in its early years, then secured a federal grant for WRAP. When grant funding ran low, the city in 2007 chipped in $350,000, and the Douglas County Commission stepped forward with $225,000.
When the school district said it didn't have funds for the program this school year, city commissioners pulled their funding, too. A scaled-down WRAP program is operating this year, using money from the county and Bert Nash.
The extra funding the school district is seeking in its April 1 election would fund the WRAP program and provide money for teacher pay raises.
Hack, a former teacher, thinks the problems between the city and school district can be repaired.
"I think it's just doing a better job of communicating with each other," she said.