Archive for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

School district advises city, county of possible changes

Area residents are warning that there will be a lot of conversation about possible changes to the public school system in the next few months. Some issues include reorganizing the junior high school. The possible changes wouldn't take effect for at least another two school years.

September 23, 2009


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.


headdoctor 6 years ago

Hmm. I think I smell the smelly smell of the smell of another bond issue in the works. Possibly for a 5th junior high school or at least for large additions to some of the existing ones.

in123 6 years ago

Of course there will another bond issue to build more brick & mortar buildings while the district is expanding with virtual students. The district does whatever it takes to get more money to divert to new adminstration buildings or athletic facilites. It is the district's tradition!

headdoctor 6 years ago

red_devil (Anonymous) says… Why would they need to build another jr high if they are planning to move 9th graders to high school?

Moving the 9th graders to the high school would only be a short term answer. While there are several arguments for making Lawrence high schools 4 year buildings you should read between the lines and consider the enrollment of some of the grade schools. There is more to this than boundary lines and making it easier to for students to walk to school. They are trying to prep the junior high buildings over the next few years to handle the incoming students from the grade schools of which there are a few of those grade schools are already close to or above their original capacity. I could be wrong but there is at least one grade school which over the next couple of years will dump more kids into the current junior high set up than the number of 9th graders that will be moving on to the high school. Even if that part of my assessment is wrong in a few short years it wont be. Perhaps the school board should have been looking at this long before now.

KU_cynic 6 years ago

Moving to four-year high schools would give a big boost to home-schoolers and private schools in Lawrence (e.g., St. John School and Corpus Christi School). Keeping home schoolers through eighth grade (before high school transcripting starts) and extending parochial grade schools to include 7th and 8th grades (as required/supported under the Catholic archdiocese) are feasible, whereas providing home school in high school and extending parochial schools through 9th grade are not.

In short, the Lawrence public school district might need to consider some facilities reconfigurations at the high school level, but a lot of flexibility for the junior highs would be freed up by the exit of the 9th graders and the absence of private educated students who will stay private through 8th grade if St. John and Corpus Christi extend to 8th grade in response to Lawrence high schools going to 4-year programs.

honestone 6 years ago

9th and 10th graders go to LHS with a closed campus. 11th and 12th graders go to FSHS with an open campus. The school district needs to realize that most populations expand and contract as the populations in the neighborhoods age. The young people with grade school kids fill a grade school. As that neighborhoods population ages the enrollments will go down but this aging population will soon be selling their homes to younger people and after a brief period of decline the numbers of school age children will increase again

ohgeeze 6 years ago

I love it! Move district lines around to effectively utilize the space we have in the district. (Schools like Hillcrest who have had a dramatic decrease in student population due to the moving around of ELL students and schools like Langston Hughes who are busting at the seams...)

This will free up space without having to build.

Move 6th graders to junior high and 9th graders to high school. Have full day kindergartens at all schools (so some schools don't have HUGE kindergartens like they do now because they are using grandma's address)

I like it. Sign me up. Let's do it.

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