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.