Letters to the Editor

Personal touch

February 2, 2010


To the editor:

As a local private educational consultant and a recent substitute teacher at New York School who has served on their site council and also a business partner through the Lawrence Education Achievement Partners (LEAP) foundation, I would like to speak out against their potential closing.

Although having a small 136 enrollment, this federally funded Title I school, with 63 percent of children qualifying for mandated free and reduced-price lunches has remained vital to the stability of the East Lawrence community. The school meets the PTA national standards for Family-School Partnerships (pta.org) by collaborating with the Lawrence neighborhood community and supports the PTA standards motto “Every Child — One Voice.” Over the years, I also have witnessed many local businesses (as many as 11) requesting LEAP partnerships with New York School, eager to serve these economically disadvantaged children in a personal way.

As a substitute teacher, I found professional, high-quality daily lesson plans with eager-to-please students and helpful staff. Close attentional support is given to each child in the educational process by a group of dedicated, veteran teachers, many who have taught only at that school in their careers. These children are given the opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and psychologically in a warm, caring, intimate setting, making Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) standards. No doubt that if this school closes, it will be a detriment not only to the children and their caring parents, but to the neighborhood, staff, support teams and Lawrence as a whole.

Jan Kuyper Erland,



kugrad 8 years, 2 months ago

We can always count on oneeye and hcaremoocher to jump in with misinformed comments on a topic they don't understand. Here they are again, demonstrating their lack of understanding of school finance. Moocher; the city bus program has nothing to do with this issue. Zero. Zip. Nada. No connection whatsoever. Oneye, the previous bond issues have nothing to do with the current crisis as bond issues are part of the capital outlay fund, not the general fund. The shortfall is in the general fund. Your comments also have nothing to do with the excellent letter to which you are responding.

    I think your true motivations for writing are displayed in your ludicrous comments about liberals and nepotism, as though all teachers and administrators were liberals. Just shows how out of touch you are with teachers.

    This letter is excellent and points out that New York Elementary is able to meet the needs of a very diverse, needy population. This also happens to be one of the School Board's stated objectives - to close the achievment gap for low-SES and/or minority students. Having an experienced "veteran" staff at NY is also consistent with good practice. As numerous education experts and President Obama have pointed out, students in poorer neighborhoods tend to have the less experienced teachers when they really need the more experienced teachers. The LPS should be applauded for being an exception to that trend.

NY continues to reap Standard of Excellence awards in math, reading, and science year after year. What a great school.

friendlyjhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

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Stephen Roberts 8 years, 2 months ago

Just want to clarify, the school district has a $4,000,000 gap for the upcoming school year. I am sure the board members enjoy hearing all of the good comments on why schools should not be closed but how will they close the gap for next year??

In order to keep New York open, you will have to massively overcrowd Langston Hughes, Sunflower, Deerfield, Sunset Hill, and Hillcrest by increasing the student teacher ratio to the max. Is this what the board members should propose to keep New York open?? Maybe one time we should look at the whole district instead of the minority.

Remember, JOCO voters increased their sales taxes to fund education, what did Lawrence voters do?? Fund the arts, roads, and the T. By the way, I am not effected by the board's decison because my kids are not in elementary school.

spiderd 8 years, 2 months ago

Just want to clarify, the school district is going to permanently close a historic school that's been 3 blocks from downtown since 1869, with an exemplary record of educating our children who are at the greatest risk, that's a school where Langston Hughes actually attended not one only named after him... all in the name of saving the district $300,000 of a $3.9 MIL deficit?
Oh, and in the process give an economic kick to the gut of a working class neighborhood that anchors the downtown?
All this just so the rest of the district can have small class sizes... wait, wait, what's that? Closing NY doesn't save enough money to prevent increases in class ratio - they'll go up regardless? Hmmm...

Mike Myers 8 years, 2 months ago

I was at the study session yesterday. It is very clear that closing schools does not save the money needed. 85% of the budget goes to payroll. That means two things. People are going to lose their jobs and there will be more kids in classrooms. There is plenty of classroom space in the city so we will be relocating children to classrooms with space. It would be a good time to break it to your children that they may be attending a different school next year. I have done it with mine already and they understand. They have friends all over town so it will just be a different experience if it happens. It isn't great but it happens. It may even be a good thing. I was bussed to an inner city school as a child as part of a mandatory desegregation program and I am still in contact with some of the friends after 35 years. Destroying neighborhoods is not the answer. It doesn't save the required money. Any way you slice it this is about job loss.

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