Superintendent Rick Doll told city and county commissioners Tuesday that they should expect to hear a lot of community conversation about possible changes to the city’s public school system.
At a joint meeting of the city, county and school board Tuesday afternoon, Doll told elected leaders that the board likely will begin studying whether the district should reorganize its junior highs by moving ninth-graders to the high schools.
A discussion of redrawing elementary school boundaries to make it easier for students to walk to their schools also will be discussed.
“I have kidded people about how controversial both of these topics are,” Doll said.
Some city commissioners said they already are starting to receive questions about the idea, especially the thought of making ninth-graders a part of the high school.
“The configuration issue of either the four-year or three-year high school has been a topic of discussion in the community for a long time,” Doll said. “There are some real practical reasons to make the change. Our ninth-graders are kind of in limbo.”
But board members stressed that they haven’t made up their minds about the issues.
“But it will be a true discussion that we have,” said board member Bob Byers. “This is more than just a thought. We have a real plan to look at this.”
The board is expected to kick off the process by including both the high school configuration and elementary school boundary issues as part of the district’s list of goals that are up for discussion at Monday’s school board meeting.
School district leaders also updated city and county commissioners on several other projects. They included:
• Doll said the district plans to use temporary facilities for restrooms and concession stands for the remainder of the season at the new Lawrence High School sports complex.
“We have said we’re not going to rush that and do something we’re not proud of,” Doll said.
• Work to create a new technical education program is under way. Doll said the district is considering starting an allied health program that would prepare students to enter the health care field. He said other vocations also are under consideration, and the district is considering how high school seniors could partake in internship programs to gain valuable experience.
• A study is under way to determine fees and policies related to outside groups using district facilities for events.