Archive for Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More information on high school reconfiguration sought

Lawrence High School Students board buses in this 2009 photo.

Lawrence High School Students board buses in this 2009 photo.

October 27, 2009


School district considers moving ninth graders up

The School Board took a hard look at what it would take to move ninth graders into high schools. Enlarge video

On the street

Should ninth-graders be moved to the high school level in Lawrence?

Absolutely. They will mature faster, I think, and enjoy the benefits of being in high school.

More responses

The Lawrence school district will continue looking into the logistics of moving ninth-graders to high school buildings as part of a potential school reconfiguration.

After the board heard there was space to house four grades at both Lawrence and Free State high schools, members directed the administrators to continue fact-finding in regard to what needs to be considered in the potential move.

However, while the space is available, the board isn’t ready to finalize the decision. “We don’t want to mess with it without thought,” said Scott Morgan, board president.

Other factors to consider include enrollment, programs, special-purpose classrooms like biology labs and music rooms, and the size of common spaces.

“The high schools currently don’t teach many sections of biology,” which is largely taught at the freshman level, Chief Operations Officer Frank Harwood said. “When you start looking at where all the students go for lab classes, it gets pretty tight pretty quick.”

Each school would see another 350 to 370 students added in the first year, which would most likely be 2011. If every classroom were full every hour of the school day, LHS could fit more than 2,100 students. Free State’s cap is just above 1,800 students.

The district will now continue researching the issue and will present pros and cons of a middle school configuration to the board.

“We have a deadline to bring you a plan,” Superintendent Rick Doll said. “It just starts the process, as you know, of a whole series of discussions we have to have.”


sad_lawrencian 5 years, 1 month ago

I grew up in the middle of nowhere and 9th graders went to the high school there. It's time for Lawrence to get with the program.

sherbert 5 years, 1 month ago

I've heard that every district in KS does it that way except us.

honestone 5 years, 1 month ago

9th and 10th to LHS as a closed campus 11th and 12th to FSHS with an open campus. This meets the configuration issues and "protects" our precious 9th graders from tjhe evil 12th graders

waswade 5 years, 1 month ago

This is ridiculous. There is NOT room for another 300+ students in LHS. The special ed departments are overloaded as it is. Space is at premium. The board needs to actually visit the schools and see the truth.

booze_buds_03 5 years, 1 month ago

You have heard wrong Sherbert. Manhattan built 2 new middles schools about 12 years ago and moved 9th graders to the old middle school all by themselves. The highschool is 10-12.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 1 month ago

It's laughable that the same people who stress "sports participation" at the crux of their educational philosophy would support cutting the number of 9th grade sports teams in half by doing this. The real impetus for splitting LHS in 1994 was not related to academics at all - it related to getting another set of sports teams in town. Now the same people, who claim academics as a reason but in reality are driven by a small cadre of parents who, curiously, want their children to get beat up while playing as freshmen against high school seniors, desire to reduce the total number of 9th grade sports teams from 4 to 2. Moreover, for people who complained incessantly 15 years ago that "1800 kids is too big" to put four grades into our high school buildings is an act of the most profound hypocrisy. This will require the taxpayers to foot the bill for a third high school, including athletic facilities equal to those just built at each existing high school, in just a few years. If the ninth graders stay where they are, we wouldn't need a third high school for at least 20 years. Thus, as usual, the legitimate concerns of the taxpayers of this community are ignored. I wonder whether even one current school board member cares about this and has the guts to say so.

BigAl 5 years, 1 month ago

Cato says: "The real impetus for splitting LHS in 1994 was not related to academics at all - it related to getting another set of sports teams in town."

Uh no. Not even close. The real impetus for splitting LHS was because of OVERCROWDING. Period. LHS was the largest high school in the state BY FAR. They were on top of each other. It was the sports people that didn't want to break up the football team that tried to stop the split. It wasn't to "get another set of sports teams".

cato_the_elder 5 years, 1 month ago

Dead wrong, Big Al. Additional space at LHS could easily have been added. The perceived problem was that kids were getting cut from sports teams, and adding additional space couldn't solve that. In 1990, when the vote to split LHS failed substantially, the issue was academics. In 1994, when it finally passed, the issue was activities, especially sports. In 1994 LHS was far smaller than at least ten three-year high schools in Johnson, Shawnee, and Sedgwick counties had been for over 35 years until the demographics of those counties changed radically in a very short period of time. My point is simply that for a school board that claims to value sports participation as much as it does (witness the recent construction projects at both high schools), to slice the number of 9th grade teams in half is both ludicrous and patently hypocritical.

greenquarter 5 years, 1 month ago

cato_the_elder (Anonymous) says…

The real impetus for splitting LHS in 1994 was not related to academics at all - it related to getting another set of sports teams in town.

Are you kidding me? The whole reason we DIDN'T have a second high school for years and years was that no one wanted to split up the powerhouse football team (state champs at least four years straight, from 1989 to 1993, and undefeated at least 3 of those seasons). I graduated from LHS in 1993 and since at least 1982 people had been against adding a high school even though they could see where LHS was headed: overcrowding. With 1,800+ kids at LHS in the early 1990s, it was nearly impossible just to move through the halls and make it to class on time, especially going from one end of the school to another. All kinds of alternatives to building a second high school were proposed, including adding a third floor to the existing structure, just to avoid splitting up the town (that is, its sports). I haven't been in since the remodel (which the school district wisely completed before FSHS was completed) but at the time it was too many kids for that building.

And don't ninth-graders typically play in junior varsity teams unless they're REALLY good (and in that case they probably could handle getting "beaten up" by the big, bad seniors).

make_a_difference 5 years, 1 month ago

On October 24, 2009, there was a brief story "School Board to ponder shifting ninth-graders". Towards the very end there was a paragraph stating that the school board is completing the purchase of 76 acres southeast of Lawrence for the amount of 1.7 million dollars.

Has this been publicly discussed at all? What is the expected use for this acreage? Or have I just missed it.

I believe this purchase should raise some questions from the public.

akt2 5 years, 1 month ago

9th graders should be at a high school. They are called FRESHMEN!! They are young teens that are starting to drive. They are participating in organized social events at school. They are taking Spanish and Algebra. They shouldn't be stuck in a middle school. They should be starting their high school years. Those years go too fast as it is. But 3 years? They need the extra year in high school.

drillsgt 5 years, 1 month ago

as a LHS alumni of the class of 1985, i can remember, back in the day, of hearing of a possible new high school because LHS was getting too crowded, but i remember the talk was of making a new "senior high". Juniors and seniors would be going to the new high school, soph and freshmen would be at lawrence high. I dont recall much more than that, but I do remember that the new senior high would be built in west lawrence..somewhere..

LHScutie 5 years ago

Okay as a sophmore now at LHS i can honestly say that this school cannot hold anymore students. There is way to many as it is. During passing period, it is shoulder to shoulder it seems. It is way to crowded. Also do you really want 13-14 year olds in a school with 18-19 year olds. I would say that is disaster waiting to happen. Most seniors and some juniors here abuse drugs and alcohol. Do you really want 9th graders around that stuff. I think they are to young for that.
And having k-6, 7-9 and 10-12 makes us feel unique. We like it the way it is.

svenway_park 5 years ago

2bfrank, is the unemployed unethical architect and LHS neighbor who lied to his neighbors to get them involved in that worthless lawsuit against the school board.

His misconduct on these boards is pretty well known ...formerly cool/ariadne/spiderman/rusty2/bronze/dried_oregano

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