The school board approved an $875,000 lighting package at its meeting Monday night to shed some light on the new athletic fields at both high schools.
The package will provide lamps for Lawrence High School’s football, baseball and softball fields and their parking lots.
Free State High School will get new lights on its football field.
“Lights allow us to extend the practice times. They allow us to have games after dark. It allows for more usage of the fields,” said Tom Bracciano, the division director for operations and facility planning. “It is a big component of it.”
Bracciano said he is holding off on lighting the soccer fields at both schools and the tennis courts at Lawrence High.
“We’re also working with the city on an agreement on the Lawrence Tennis Center to get some kind of understanding on how we want to operate that, the funding for it and those kinds of things,” Bracciano said.
The soccer teams will play on the football fields this season.
Superintendent Randy Weseman presented a plan to cut just over $1 million from the district’s general fund to prepare for a $33 cut in base state aid per student for this school year.
“We have prepared for emergencies and we prepared for the rainy day and this isn’t easy to do,” Weseman said.
His plan includes a modified hiring freeze. For example, he approved the hiring of an autism support staff member and another track coach, but did not OK the hiring of a secretary at district headquarters.
“The baseline for me on this is to protect what’s going on in our schools on a day-to-day basis,” Weseman said.
He also noted that Lawrence public schools will be better off than others when it comes to cuts from the state.
“It’s going to be much easier for us because we do have some emergency reserves and we have built our contingency up,” he said.
The board also heard about the final six candidates vying to fill Weseman’s position upon his retirement at the end of the school year.
There were 30 applicants, 16 of those in-state. All six of the final applicants are current sitting superintendents. Four of the final six are in-state and the other two have ties to Kansas.
“It is significant that in the entire process that we now have six candidates that meet the board’s criteria,” said David Smith, a consultant with Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, the firm hired to conduct the search. “This is a well-regarded school system. That extends out into the superintendent pool.”
Interviews will begin at the end of this week and continue through early March.