Board members plan to meet with the public twice about moving sixth-graders into middle schools with seventh- and eighth-graders, starting with the 2011-2012 school year, at the earliest.
The community discussions will be
• 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lawrence High School cafeteria, 1901 La.
• 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 20 at Free State High School’s Black Box Theater, 4700 Overland Drive.
Board members and district administrators heard comments from the public at two forums earlier this month about the possibility of moving ninth-graders into the two high schools.
Lawrence school board members gave initial approval Monday to a boundary change that would move about 65 students to New York School from Kennedy School for next year.
The 5-1 vote came over some objections from parents about splitting up neighborhoods and requests for more communication with Kennedy parents about the coming changes. Mary Loveland voted against the plan, and Scott Morgan, the board president, was absent.
“We would really like to be a part of the conversations that are happening,” Kennedy parent Dawn Shew said.
Because of the state’s budget crisis and as part of $4.6 million in cuts for next school year, board members decided in March to close the East Heights Early Childhood Family Center and move its 130 half- and full-day students into Kennedy. To make room, some current students at Kennedy, 1605 Davis Road, would move to New York, 936 N.Y.
The change affects students who live north of 19th Street from Bullene Avenue east to Maple Lane and north of East Glenn Drive and west of Harper Street. With the change, Kennedy’s kindergarten through sixth-grade enrollment is expected to drop to about 230 students from 321 students. The school — led by current East Heights principal Cris Anderson — would also have the early childhood students.
New York’s enrollment is expected to increase to 210 students, up from 135 this year.
Loveland said she was distressed some families would be so much closer to Kennedy but attend New York.
“I felt it was important to register that concern,” she said.
The board will need to give final approval to the change at its April 26 meeting. Also, the district will have a forum to discuss the changes during a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Kennedy’s library.
Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer, said that currently 40 students transfer into Kennedy, even though they live outside the school’s boundary. He said the district will send out a letter asking them to reapply for the transfer in fairness to the 65 students in the boundary change.
“We just need to look at them on a level field,” he said.
Harwood said the students within the boundary change area could still apply for a transfer, but that all transfers would mainly depend on classroom space available per grade.
• Board members approved another boundary change 5-1 Monday night with the district’s English as a second language program.
The change affects 25 students who currently attend Cordley, 1837 Vt., and will attend Hillcrest, 1045 Hilltop Drive, next year because Cordley is nearing capacity. The students in the affected boundary live in the New York, Sunset Hill and Quail Run districts. Bob Byers voted against the change.
“When you get into moving kids, then it’s no longer a neighborhood school,” he said.