Letters to the Editor

Plan needed

April 26, 2010

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To the editor:

School reconfiguration is an action item for the Lawrence school board tonight.

The question to be answered is “Should students be moved?” A substantive model of what the change will effect, except the relocation of students, has not been presented. The administration has provided myriad ideas and possibilities, but no plan and no budget.

The assumption by the board and by most of the public seems to be that moving ninth-grade and sixth-grade students will save money by efficiencies. Instead of four ninth grades, there will be only two. Instead of 15 sixth grades, there will be four. At the same time that this sentiment is circulated, the board insists they want to do what is best academically, and therefore, is not considering the budget implications.

While benefits of smaller schools have been discussed for months, and the board voted in favor of smaller elementary schools recently, the reconfiguration will increase high school population by 33 percent.

Lawrence needs a vision for the best academic results for the greatest number of students. Lawrence needs a comprehensive plan across the district which includes looking at the elementary, junior and senior high schools, curricular planning for all levels, census and population numbers, budget numbers, and co-curricular/extracurricular activities.

Until such a plan is devised and approved, our educational program is piecemeal. The board risks losing the current outstanding quality of education by voting to move students before a comprehensive, unifying plan is approved.

Comments

cato_the_elder 5 years, 3 months ago

Excellent letter, but will the Board listen to reason?

puckstah 5 years, 3 months ago

Well put Maureen! If the SB needs to vote on something, why not vote on putting a preliminary plan together? How can the SB members, families or the community (which will need to support a bond in the coming years) understand what the implications for making these changes are without any plans whatsoever? I'm afraid if they move forward on this in such a manner, the SB will be shooting themselves in the proverbial foot.....and they will be stuck where they are with too many kids in falling down buildings with inadequate programs because the public won't pass a bond as punishment to the SB for not planning well.

songbird 5 years, 3 months ago

Great letter!   How can our school board vote on this tonight?  I was at several public forums and felt like the "big picture" was never discussed. By giving the public guided discussion topics and dividing the 9th grade and 6th grade forums, they succeeded in avoiding the tough questions.  What will our district look like if reconfiguration happens now and five years from now?  What will the financial impact be?  Will construction and expansion be needed to make room for the ninth graders? How many elementary schools will close as a result of moving 6th grade?  Surely school district administration must know the answers to the “big picture" questions, but they are not sharing their plan with the public.  Have they shared the plan with the school board? 

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