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Archive for Tuesday, February 23, 2010

School board leans toward closures

February 23, 2010

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A majority of Lawrence school board members on Monday night said they were at least willing to consider school closures as the district tries to cut $5 million before next school year.

“I am not in a hurry to close any schools. It’s not something I want to do,” board member Bob Byers said. “However, there are also things in education that are just as important or more important than the buildings.”

Board members didn’t make any decisions at their Monday night meeting, but it was their first major discussion after hearings about their options for several weeks.

Members of Save Our Neighborhood Schools blasted the board’s discussion because they said the board appeared not to be considering a $5.5 million list of alternatives, including to stop using the general fund to buy student materials for now and instead tap into a materials fund saved up for future textbook purchases.

“This is an accounting change that does not impact the quality of education our children will receive,” Alee Phillips said.

Example emerges

At least one specific scenario for closing two elementary schools and the East Heights Early Childhood Center emerged Monday night, although several board members said they weren’t yet willing support a specific plan.

School board President Scott Morgan’s scenario includes closing Sunset Hill and Wakarusa Valley schools and moving the East Heights programs into New York School, which would become a building for pre-kindergarten to second- or third-grade classes.

The plan would keep Hillcrest and Cordley schools open because of their English as a second language programs.

Older New York students would move to other schools, and most Sunset Hill students would go to Hillcrest, although some students there would need to be moved out to keep the English as a second language program, Morgan said.

Also, Wakarusa Valley, southwest of Lawrence, would close temporarily until the district grows farther south in the future.

“It isn’t a permanent solution; if you don’t sell the building, you can reopen it,” Morgan said.

He said the scenario may not be what the board eventually decides to do, but he wanted get some plan out in public. Several other board members asked administrators to develop criteria for closing buildings.

Two board members voiced support for neighborhood elementary schools.

“This sense of community is crucial to the academic success that we enjoy as a district,” Vanessa Sanburn said.

Board member Rich Minder agreed.

“I’m pretty well comfortable with finding alternatives to closing neighborhood elementary schools,” he said.

The district is looking at trying to find $5 million in savings because of the state’s budget crisis.

Board member Mark Bradford said the next few days will help him decide whether the district should keep all of its buildings open and “very limited service for children” or reduce the use of facilities and overhead and “have the service that we need to get excellence in academics.”

“It’s one or the other. I don’t see it being both,” he said.

The district would save $573,662 in closing Sunset Hill, $474,967 for Wakarusa Valley and $250,000 for East Heights. Superintendent Rick Doll said the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence was interested in possibly leasing or buying a building the district is not using.

Other cuts

Other budget cut options on the table include a list of program and administrative cuts that total about $3 million, but several board members only supported about half of those choices.

Marlene Merrill talked about protecting guidance counselors and librarians.

“These are services that are essential to the well-being of our students,” she said.

The district has also looked at raising the student-teacher ratio, or cutting teaching positions to save money. Minder said he would be comfortable with increasing the ratio by two students, which would save about $2 million, but Morgan said it seemed a majority of board members would only consider an increase of one student.

About 30 people spoke at the meeting, and nearly all encouraged the district not to close schools, saying it would be rushed without thinking through the consequences.

Two Wakarusa Valley parents said the board should not close the school because it would be a hardship for younger students to have to ride the bus for an hour.

Jessica Beeson, of Save Our Neighborhood Schools, said the community group has gained momentum and would be able to rally support of volunteers to help with some services in schools.

“We need you to vote to keep the schools open so that we can actually get the people to do it,” she said.

Comments

volunteer 4 years, 1 month ago

For love of Pete, eliminate the worthless in-service during this buget crisis. All the teachers I know, and I hang out with several, chuckle at the notion of in-service "education" and say "Just let us go to our classrooms during these workdays so we can make lesson plans and grade papers instead of Administrators trying to justify their existence by the fiction that they can improve the performance of an already certified teacher with special lectures, activities, etc."

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commuter 4 years, 1 month ago

Kugrad - I apologize if I made you really grouchy. The poor kids are going to have to suffer your grouchiness tomorrow. I feel sorry for them.

I didn't say teachers are incompetent. I know someone who works for the district and spends a lot of time fixing errors made by teachers. If these errors were not fixed, it would costs the district a lot of money. Why are the errors made?? A lot of reasons but if you are not held accountable for mistakes, why would you want to do better.

I will be happy to get a tell the board to freeze teachers salaries when you get up and tell the board to increase YOUR real estate taxes and sales taxes by 40%.

I have sent e-mails to the school board expressing my concern. They are tight lipped about a few things. Did you get to read my e-mails??

I have nothing against great teachers being paid like great teachers but there are too many teachers here that are not great teachers. Didn't the LEA negiotate a raise this year even though revenue projections were not looking good???

KUGRAD - By the way you are responding like I am personally attacking you, do you teach at a school here in Lawrence?

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 1 month ago

Walkarusa Valley Retirement Community and Poor Farm

formerly the Walkarusa Grade School

Come see this lovely one level buidling equipped with a gourment cooking class kitchen for elderly, a newly built swimming pool, english style cottages for those financially able to buy in. The new poor house will however be designed to look like some of the original mental hospitals modeled after the castle design. Might even use the blueprints of The Oread Inn. Would there be a problem with the height for the nearby residents. No one wants to encroach on their agrarian setting.

This lovely site just minutes away from fishing at the spillway will alllow the new occupants to travel via golf cart from the new housing and Poor Farm to Eagle Bend(a sure way to bring it up to snuff economically!) even with reduced rates for the poor it can be a winner again.

The most important use then of the former grade school, is that it will have inhabitants who have already been educated on how to live on less, as they will have less if Lawrence continues to operate as it is now doing, both the city and the school district.

Education is not the forte of Lawrence.

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hail2oldku 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm not sure what happened to the family/neighborhood support at Sunset. The parents involved when I had kids there would never have bought into the "you don't have to worry, you're part of a multiage campus" bs. They would have been at the board meeting stronger than the NY school parents trotted out.

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kugrad 4 years, 1 month ago

Commuter wrote "I am disappointed in people in Lawrence. There are so many calls to cut administration and support staff pay but none for teachers??? If teachers are underpaid here in Lawrence, so are support staff and administrators"

Commuter, your logic here is flawed and the facts don't confirm what you say. Pay for Lawrence teachers does not rank high in the state (in the low part of the average range), but administrative pay is in the top 10 in the state. There is a huge discrepancy. I don't know why you have it out for teachers and repeat, yet again, your call for a teacher pay cut. If your argument above was your reasoning, please think again. Of the total budget for employees in the Lawrence Public Schools, at least 31% is administrative salaries! It may be a percentage point or two higher. Now think of this - all the teachers plus all the paraeducators plus all the custodians, maintenance, food service, secretaries, and all other classified employees, all the speech teachers, occupational therapists, psychologists, physical therapists, and other specialized certified personnel (many of the support personnel have masters degrees)....ALL of these people get two-thirds of the pie while a small fraction of employees get the other third. Maybe you can see why administrative cuts are a popular item. Now, you say you are disappointed in Lawrence for not suggesting teacher pay cuts, as though teachers are to blame in some way for the legislatures failure to raise adequate revenue. Well, if you were informed you would know that teacher pay cuts are on the table. When salary is noticed as a negotiable item, then pay can end up going either direction, up or down. So don't think the administration hasn't proposed it, it is just not a public discussion until such time as negotiation meetings begin. Then you should feel free to show up and listen. In fact, I challenge you to go to the March 8th board of education meeting and publically stand up and say that you support teacher pay cuts. Please, while you are there, go on and suggest that teacher are incompetent as you do in your earlier post. You insult teachers as though they are not professionals with skills. I don't think you have the guts to do it in public at a board meeting. If you won't say it in public, you really shouldn't say it here either. Sometimes you raise good points and ask good questions, but other times you just attack teachers for no valid reason that I can see. I've given my input to the board in public. Please give yours in public since you see fit to post negative remarks on every public education thread on the LJW site. If you aren't a big enough person to say it in public in front of educators, the board, and other citizens, then you must not care that much one way or another, which would tend to indicate that you are just a troll and not a concerned citizen. It's either that or you lack the courage of your convictions, which is just cowardly.

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Truami 4 years, 1 month ago

They live

A single man can be a part of an economic downfall and obtain 9 million dollars but the future of hundreds of kids suffer (in our town alone) because a school district cannot come up with 5 million additional dollars.

We sleep

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tomatogrower 4 years, 1 month ago

tomatogrower (anonymous) says... Calling all those who care about all children's education. There is a rally scheduled for March 16. If you really care. make arrangements to take off work and bring your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews to Topeka. It's spring break for most schools, so they don't have to miss. The bigger the rally, the better. The squeaky wheel gets the attention, so come and squeak. See info at this link.

https://sites.google.com/site/adequat...

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mr_right_wing 4 years, 1 month ago

We need to have an alternate plan for closing down buildings. Just stick more kids in other classrooms? No...let them stay home and learn through internet technology that already exists and is being used by universities and colleges as well as the corporate world. You can attend college classes online...as well as a board meeting. Let's rid ourselves of the burden of a good number of these facilities and use the cost-saving technology that is out there. Welcome to 2010; work from home, learn from home!

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GardenMomma 4 years, 1 month ago

The district would save $573,662 in closing Sunset Hill, $474,967 for Wakarusa Valley ...The district has also looked at raising the student-teacher ratio, or cutting teaching positions to save money. Minder said he would be comfortable with increasing the ratio by two students, which would save about $2 million, but Morgan said it seemed a majority of board members would only consider an increase of one student.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There it is. $1.04 million to keep BOTH schools open and a savings of $2 just by increasing the ratio by two students. WHY won't the rest of the board consider this?

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Healthcare_Moocher 4 years, 1 month ago

And we have empty busses running all over town while our children are walking to school!

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Tracy Rogers 4 years, 1 month ago

Wow.....seems like everyone on here has all the answers. Next election there ought to be about 100 people running for school board since you know it all. Or do you have the kahunas to put your money where your mouth is?

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UniversalLove 4 years, 1 month ago

bhall87 (anonymous) says..."I don't support closing any school for any reason but the argument of keeping Hillcrest and Cordley open are pretty flimsy. The ESL program can easily be moved to other schools (maybe Sunset and New York) because Cordley has long outlived its usefulness."


You obviously have never stepped one foot in Cordley. This school is doing an excellent job educating our kids, with outstanding teachers and staff. IT HAS HISTORY - a long history of excellence. And there is room to grow. There is a huge field behind it. There were improvements made to the front of the building recently - and community members just spent their own money, their own time, putting up a permanent outside shelter.

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commuter 4 years, 1 month ago

I am disappointed in people in Lawrence. There are so many calls to cut administration and support staff pay but none for teachers??? If teachers are underpaid here in Lawrence, so are support staff and administrators. Think about it, if Blue Valley can pay more for teachers, do you think they pay less for administrators?? No.

If you get rid of some of the support staff, who will do the work that teachers are required to do but do not or do it incorrectly. i bet there are a few people who have to go back and check what teachers do to make sure we get the correct amount of money owed to us by the state.

People say the school board is not listening but it is hard to listen when people get saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over again. It is easy to make suggestions when you do not have to live with those suggestions.

If the SONS group is really serious about saving schools, take a collection and write a $5 Million dollar check to the school board. This will help for one year, then repeat next year, and repeat the year after next.

Are there people at the district office that should not be working any more, sure but you can not blame Dr. Doll. You have to blame Randy Weaseman. He is the one who created the administration nightmare not Dr. Doll. I would hope Dr. Doll is in the process of evelauting what people at the district office are more expendable than others.

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UniversalLove 4 years, 1 month ago

I am amazed at the appalling lack of leadership, creativity, and courage in the Lawrence Public School Board Members. And I do sense from their comments a pre-conceived, pre-determined plan for closing our neighborhood schools. This smacks to me of back-room deals, lack of transparency, and lack of sincere open dialogue with the public. The whole experience made me sick.

WHEN THE MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION MAKES MORE THAN THE GOVERNOR OF KANSAS, AND WE ARE TOLD THAT SCHOOLS HAVE TO CLOSE, SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG!

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7texdude 4 years, 1 month ago

Again, why does everyone think there won't be more school cuts in the coming years? This is the first part of a series of cuts in every aspect of gov't in the near future. Kansas is broke. Lawrence is broke. There is no money. Do you think Brownback and the state gov't are going to reinvest in our schools? If so, how? Show me the money.

We need to think about these cuts as the first in a series. What happens when we cherry pick around major cuts for a year? The next year's cuts are even more painful. It will only get worse in four or five years as the essential services of fire, police and schools are divided up like a steak on the grill.

What will happen a year from now when the school board meets to make more "painful" cuts? They will agree that they made short-sighted decisions in 2010 caused more harm than good in the long run.

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barrypenders 4 years, 1 month ago

Increase the 'Collateral Damage' by sloughing off some Board members and the money will appear. It's a little known fact that eliminating Board members Stimuluses the manisfestation of paper money. The 'Littles Ones' will rejoice. Feathering in 'Virtual' learning will enhance the 'Little Ones' proclivity for LCD's. Uneeded Trainers can replace the 'Collateral Damage'. Focusing like a laser beam on Hope will Change things around here.

Stimulus, Little Ones, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless you all

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ShePrecedes 4 years, 1 month ago

Of course, it is far more important to have a nice little ball field for our kids to play on than to have an adequate number of schools and smaller class sizes.

Vote each one of there lunatic school board members off the board. Each and every one of them. They are totally incompetent.

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solsken66 4 years, 1 month ago

  • one principal for two elementary school buildings
  • go to four day class schedule, M-TH
  • teachers rotate duties as lunchroom and recess monitors
  • reduce wages of top administrative personnel such as the school superintendent
  • eliminate full day kindergarten, go to half-day
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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 1 month ago

Boy, that Wakarusa school would make a really good Senior Center. Nice and quiet and plenty of space for gardens and maybe even a swimming pool and run a special T bus to it.

Even a nursing home could take over that place and build retirement cottages around it.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 1 month ago

To keep Sunset Hill and Wakarusa Valley open would require finding only $1.2 milion. I wonder if there's that in Administration, specials, and looking at the school calendar.

How much are the utility costs for every school during the last two weeks of August? In Kansas, that's typically the hottest time of the summer. I'm fairly sure it's not one million dollars, but it's something. Even if it's $200 per school that would be a savings of $4,800

(That's figuring 15 elementary. 4 Jr. High, 2 High School, 1 Pre-K, 1 Virtual School Bldg, and 1 Admin. Bldg.)

Have ALL other options been thoroughly explored? Really and truly thoughtfully considered?

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PFC 4 years, 1 month ago

Excellent job school board. You have now pitted one “targeted” school against another, and for good measure, driven a wedge between the east and west schools. Just what the superintendent wanted. And, except for Morgan, you looked like you were actually listening to parents. I see why you don’t want to cut acting classes. And you have taken some options off the table, because you personally value them. Here’s an idea. The budget cuts are painful, but maybe the sacrifice should be shared by all in the district rather than it coming disproportionally from some schools. Nah, my school isn’t threatened, so let’s eliminate someone else’s school.

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blue73harley 4 years, 1 month ago

Also, Wakarusa Valley, southwest of Lawrence, would close temporarily until the district grows farther south in the future.

“It isn’t a permanent solution; if you don’t sell the building, you can reopen it,” Morgan said.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "Temporary" closure is total BS. Does anyone actually believe this lie?

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Melissa Sigler 4 years, 1 month ago

^yes, I can't stand him. That little catchphrase is annoying, and unfunny.

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ohgeeze 4 years, 1 month ago

Am I the only one who thought it was inappropriate for Mark Bradfort to say we need to "get our s***" together, and then compare the school disctrict to a church that is going under?

He rubs me the wrong way...

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Healthcare_Moocher 4 years, 1 month ago

sundancewierdo (anonymous) says... Is anyone else sick of barrypenders? Maybe it's just the darwin,posercare,blessusall thing. can you get a new catchphrase barry?


Why is there no mention of Merrill?

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West_Sider 4 years, 1 month ago

queequeg (anonymous) says...

This is not about usd 497 or the administrators. This is a statewide problem and it needs to be fixed by property owners paying more taxes. I've watched for over 20 years now, the republicans in Kansas and the US running on a 'cut-taxes' platform. This is what we get. I hate paying taxes, too but I also see the need for all of us to pitch in to make our children's future better. Man up!


What's so bad about cutting taxes AND spending? At my work we've had to make tough decisions including no pay increases and forced use of paid time off (AKA furloughs).

I don't see why the goverment, including public schools, should be treated any different. We all need to figure out how to live within our means, and soon.

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West_Sider 4 years, 1 month ago

Have they already looking at cutting 100% of the funding for extra-curricular (sports, band, music, etc...) programs? Those parents who want their children to participate in these activities should pay a fee for the activity vs having taxpayers fund the activity.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Byers is right about the buildings not being as important, but when the Lawrence voters voted in the last two ill conceived expensive bond issues, that is what they now get.. Buildings!

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JohnDa 4 years, 1 month ago

@ amcgraw : i recommend against turning this into "close any other school, just not my rural school." That seems like a losing proposition.

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ajsmomma 4 years, 1 month ago

What I meant by "hear" is that they are giving us the opportunity to attends public forums. They are asking for our input. If they were going to make a decision without concern for the publics interest they would have done it already. All of you that have said that their minds are made and that the decision is made, are only speculating. They are along way from having a decision made. The comments about Sunset Hill closing was an example. Any school could have been used in place of Sunset or Wakarusa.

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paulette2 4 years, 1 month ago

motomom is correct - Morgan and the others have already decided.

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NL 4 years, 1 month ago

Yes, East Heights is a preschool, but they service children with special needs. Helping children ages 3-5 with their disabilities greatly impacts their lives and their future. My daughter attended EH and they are a great school with caring teachers. They also utilize the entire building. Eliminating a school who contributes so much to Early Childhood Special Ed would be a mistake.

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Bill Lee 4 years, 1 month ago

Let's close all of the schools and home school everyone. The savings would be AMAZING! The only other option I see is to replace some legislators with ones who aren't afraid to raise taxes for education in this state.

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fshsbird 4 years, 1 month ago

we need a emergency tax increase vote. if everyone is in favor of not closing schools, lets each pony up an extra $500 per year per household, and local business can pony up an extra $2500 a year. and trust me, i dont live on the west side. its our obligation.

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Hop2It 4 years, 1 month ago

Despite all the yelling...I think there is evidence that board did listen at least a little bit: 1) Perhaps not closing New York Elementary, the school that many of the active parents have been advocating for as a model neighborhood school. The same might be said for Cordley.

I think that closing East Heights (a preschool) and trying to better use New York for those services was a specific attempt to show good faith. Okay...maybe not.
However, I thought it was good idea to to try to better utilize the building, the staff, to keep the school open and a good starting point.

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amcgraw 4 years, 1 month ago

What - we already travel round trip hour a day to school! Closing a school in town will inconvenience a kid by about a 2 minute commute not 20. Close the school that costs the most to run.. RETHINK!!! Rural Lawrence is not the place to cut!

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motherof3children 4 years, 1 month ago

We were told by some of the school board members that they were not really looking to hard at Sunset because of the "campus" feel, well you know where that got us

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Centerfield 4 years, 1 month ago

There are obviously "easy" targets and "favorites" here in play.

Easy target is Wakarusa (assume 75% of residents don't even have a clue where it is)

As for favorites, I also assuming Sunset Hill has no political, organizer, educational, or other "concerned connections"... making the school a more palatable choice for closure.

Compare it to any other (or ALL other) district school(s) demographically, or however you want, and tell me it isn't a high performer.

Why can't ESL, or other programs move to Sunset Hill instead and close Hillcrest? Doesn't it make sense to house a Jr. High (West) and Elementary (Sunset) campus site to reduce transportation costs?

Thanks for nothing school board!

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sundancewierdo 4 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone else sick of barrypenders? Maybe it's just the darwin,posercare,blessusall thing. can you get a new catchphrase barry?

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Jeanne Cunningham 4 years, 1 month ago

Maybe we can buy that building and start a private school there? Unless of course, someone already has a vested interest in that location that is motivating the effort to close the school...? some personal, ulterior financial motivation?

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Dayna Lee 4 years, 1 month ago

You can't close Sunset Hill! There are so many kids in that neighborhood. Kids are supposed to be able to walk to school. And I don't mean 2 and a half miles. I'm talking about young kids ages 5-12. Home schooling is going to be the option that many of these families will have to make. It's crazy talk!

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Brian Hall 4 years, 1 month ago

JohnDa: All the schools are useful but the ESL programs can easily be moved to a different school if needed. Unfortunately, this type of argument is biased depending on which school your own children or you yourself go to. I could give many reasons why School A should be closed while you or someone else could give me many reasons why it should remain open. And vice versa.

I don't want them to close any school because that's just what this town needs, yet another empty building.

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Jeanne Cunningham 4 years, 1 month ago

Except if you suddenly, greatly increase the enrollment at those well-functioning schools, what would be YOUR expectation of the likelihood that they will continue to be able to be well-functioning? My expectation is that as those schools become too large to be capable of being well-functioning, children will be the losers. If our interest is to ensure we move more towards capacity at JDC, these changes will no doubt assist in that. "Back in the day", there were more smaller neighborhood schools, and NO JDC. More than just coincidence, I think. As kids drop through the cracks because the principal doesn't even know they exist, they become "just another statistic". I liked it better when there were fewer "statistics".

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Kathy Gates 4 years, 1 month ago

My question is...what exactly are the $250,000 in cuts that are proposed from administration? What positions will no longer exist?

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JohnDa 4 years, 1 month ago

bhall87: I'm not sure why it is a flimsy argument to point out that Cordley and Hillcrest are full and doing an excellent job of educating students. The school sure seems useful to me, my son, and all the other families that go there. It seems like a flimsier argument to support closing schools that are functioning just as they should.

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Brian Hall 4 years, 1 month ago

I don't understand why the Virtual School and the East Heights Center can't be moved into one building together. I've heard East Heights uses all of its space but surely they can be combined into Centennial.

I don't support closing any school for any reason but the argument of keeping Hillcrest and Cordley open are pretty flimsy. The ESL program can easily be moved to other schools (maybe Sunset and New York) because Cordley has long outlived its usefulness. There's no room for growth and nowhere to expand and Hillcrest is slowly being taken over by KU.

Administrative costs need to be cut first NO MATTER WHAT. If I recall correctly when looking at the salary of people in the administration USD 497 has four or five IT positions, two regular IT and three laptop IT professionals. That's all well and good but from my experience in both going to school and seeing my kid in school, the teachers typically did their own IT work because getting the IT people to actually do anything was like pulling teeth.

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Jeanne Cunningham 4 years, 1 month ago

What does distance from Fraser Hall have to do with whether or not a school is needed or not? Shouldn't the decision be based on how many children are in the neighborhood and/or how far they have to go to get to school?

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LogicMan 4 years, 1 month ago

If the Board want a fast but independent review of spending and cuts, I'm available via one of those generous consulting grants! :-)

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hawkfan24 4 years, 1 month ago

Is it me or does it always seem that the school board waits to give us the public, any information until they have already made up their minds? I was not at the meeting last night and for that I do apologize however I did watch it on TV, and could our superintendent and Morgan have been any less interested in what the public was saying, body language says a lot and theirs was terrible. I am not saying the other members are right, wrong, good or bad, but why is it we always have MAJOR problems when Loveland and Morgan are on this board? I personally went round and round with Loveland when the preschool got moved to one central location, and I can tell you right now it was like talking to a bag of rocks,(not very intelligent). As for Morgan I think he wants to be a politician because he can talk a good game (sometimes) but he very rarely does what he was elected to do which is represent the public, you know those people that none of them will listen to now. I would like to say thank you to all of you board members for NOT representing the people and students of this town, and instead doing solely what YOU feel needs to be done. I agree with the parent from Pinckney last night, if the job is to "tough" then get out and let someone else give it a shot, heaven knows they can not do any worse than what you have done.

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KSManimal 4 years, 1 month ago

ravenjayhawk (anonymous) says... "Simply. Leave things alone and increase class size by 2 students. Not a big problem."

Not a big problem except for the 40 teacher's you'd lay off and the fact that doing so would get you less than halfway to $5 million.

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motomom 4 years, 1 month ago

decisions have already been made, folks. the school board is just going through the motions again..... i experienced it when they closed centennial. they pretended to listen to the parents, but already had it decided what school was going to be closed. not sure exactly how scott morgan and mary loveland can sleep well at night.......it's like deja vu'.............

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barrypenders 4 years, 1 month ago

The Progressive Articulate Demanders have the White House and both sides of the aisle. They own and operate all Government Training centers from Pre-school to University. They preside over all public operated handouts and they still squabble over money. They 'Feel' that everything the Government 'Takes' is theirs and is owed to them.

They make fun of Rebublicans because they say "No!" and that they are mean and hateful. And yet, PADs 'Carnal Knowledge' indiscriminately, and need more for the 'Children'.

Repaint the T busses and love it.

Stimulus, PAD Logic and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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ravenjayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Simply. Leave things alone and increase class size by 2 students. Not a big problem. Our teachers have more training now than ever and class sizes in earlier years have been much larger & quality students were turned out

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Healthcare_Moocher 4 years, 1 month ago

Where were our save our schools people when the public was hoodwinked into voting for the empT?

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KSManimal 4 years, 1 month ago

HenryPeach (Matt Needham) says... "If we save schools today what about next year, and the year after that? When do you think the Kansas legislators will be inclined to increase school funding? As I understand it they are at the limits of the cuts the feds allow, and still working hard to figure out how to cut more money."

The only reason the cuts weren't deeper than 2006 level is because doing so would make KS ineligible for federal stimulus money. Once the stimulus money is gone (after next year) not only will that leave a few hundred million hole in state funding of schools, but it will "allow" the legislature to make far deeper cuts. Estimates are that, if no tax revenue changes are implemented, school funding will be cut back to 1993 levels in order to balance the budget. If anyone thinks the cuts being discussed NOW are bad.....you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Yes, the legislature is going to be sued (again...). But if history is any indication it will be at least five years before that brings any relief to school districts. I don't want to see schools close; but all the "Save Our Schools" folks are too little, too late, and aimed at the wrong target. Where were you a year or two ago when this problem was just building up steam?

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headdoctor 4 years, 1 month ago

chocolateplease (anonymous) says... Okay, I have to backtrack a little bit. While initially sympathetic to the board, as in "maybe we need to close the schools if it's best for children", thinking the cuts would come straight out of educational programming....well. I just looked at the http://www.saveourneighborhoodschools... site and their list of proposed cuts that wouldn't seem to cut into children's programming. What is the boards' response to this proposal?? Is there some reason it isn't viable? It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable.


Some of their ideas are not unreasonable. The problem is some of the largest amounts are coming from robing an account from both this year and next that would put the schools even shorter in upcoming years. Where they going to get that money then?

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headdoctor 4 years, 1 month ago

classclown (anonymous) says... Excellent post Healthcare_Moocher. Right on the money.


Glad you made it over to the adult section of the forum. I was hoping that you would finally give up on trying to get along with the spoiled brats and the AW's.

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chocolateplease 4 years, 1 month ago

Okay, I have to backtrack a little bit. While initially sympathetic to the board, as in "maybe we need to close the schools if it's best for children", thinking the cuts would come straight out of educational programming....well. I just looked at the http://www.saveourneighborhoodschools.com/ site and their list of proposed cuts that wouldn't seem to cut into children's programming. What is the boards' response to this proposal?? Is there some reason it isn't viable? It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable.

The board needs to thoroughly consider every alternative. If closing the schools is the only way to save enough money to maintain overall quality of education for the children, then they must step up and do it. If they can save enough money via other cost-cutting, e.g. administrative costs (wow - each h.s. has 3 assistant principals??), then they need to step up and do that instead.

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Cindy Yulich 4 years, 1 month ago

"I just think the Board doesn't want to sacrifice their paychecks or office space to save our neighborhood schools."

The Board is not paid or provided office space or any other type of compensation.

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Kat Christian 4 years, 1 month ago

I think Save our NS came up with an excellent plan to save money without closing schools. I just think the Board doesn't want to sacrifice their paychecks or office space to save our neighborhood schools. This is an example why our country is in trouble GREED. Our kids come first and if that means you have to give up fancy office space to save our schools they that sacrifice should come first by the board members. Lawrence has wonderful schools, great teachers, but our school board leaves a lot to be desired. They need to listen to the voice of the people instead of putting their own needs ahead of the children. Using the budget plan SONS had drawn will entail change, dilligent work and commitment on the part of the board, but what are they being paid for? So get off your duffs and do the work, quit talking about it.

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chocolateplease 4 years, 1 month ago

While I agree that maintaining a sense of community as well as property values are both extremely important, I wonder if those two things should come at the expense of cutting so many educational programs that would affect all students in the district? You can never get back those years with the children, though you can get back use of the buildings, property values, etc.

It seems to me that children first should be the impetus that drives any decision the board makes. Sad to say, closing the schools may be what is best for the children, overall.

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classclown 4 years, 1 month ago

Excellent post Healthcare_Moocher. Right on the money.

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Benjamin Roberts 4 years, 1 month ago

ajsmomma (anonymous) says... "We should all be glad that the board is listening to the public and allowing us to voice our concerns. ... And this list that has been presented to the board, do we not think they've already thought about all of that, do we not think that they have gone through every possible combination?"

No, because they are not "hearing" the public. The board is a representative democracy and is failing to to "hear" what the public is saying. There have been dozens of real budget reducing solutions provided by groups and individuals that are capable of solving the budget shortfall. However, the board has not entertained even ONE of those solutions. The solutions are nixed by the administration and never see the light of day. The administration's agenda is clear and deliberate; the school board is dutifully obeying.

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motherof3children 4 years, 1 month ago

Hillcrest school is full now so how do you think you are going to move even half of Sunset to Hillcrest? YOU CAN"T! What about the quality of education?

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otto 4 years, 1 month ago

The administration needs to fire about 1/2 of the people that work at the service center. They don't do anything anyway. Reading books and watching movies is not beneficial to kids education. One lady that cant work much anymore is responsible for getting lunch for the service center. What a joke. The Superintendant needs to look around and get some kahunas.

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Healthcare_Moocher 4 years, 1 month ago

Once upon a time the Lawence taxpayers had a school system that worked. The some over educated idiot said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So the need was created a night watchman position and they hired a person for the job.

Then that idiot said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

Then the same idiot said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So he created a Quality Control department and hired two more people. One to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then he realized, "How are these people going to get paid?" So he created the following positions, a time keeper, and a payroll officer, Then hired two more people.

Then the school board said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created an administrative section and hired three more people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then the school board said, "We have had this school system in operation for one Year and we are $4 million over budget, we must cutback overall cost."

So they laid off the night watchman.

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KsTwister 4 years, 1 month ago

Obviously it is time to get some Kansas Education laws changed so revenues are earnmarked for education and not the School Boards wish list. They will close those schools, then as in the past ,build a new one or two and charge the taxpayers again as a need. Not in the last 20 years have I seen anything but this occur. And they still get their turf and stadium lights while letting teachers and buildings fall by the wayside. The ignorance continues because I have seen first hand that moving those children into another school never came with anymore advantages but several disadvantages: larger classrooms,a need for transportation,higher taxes,and a loss of community. Enjoy your school board at work, they have tunnel vision and only a new law is going to change that. They have been given every reason in the past why not to close a school at no cost to them or the taxpayer and they have closed it nonetheless.

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paulette2 4 years, 1 month ago

I applaud KOOKAMOOKA's comment above.

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motherof3children 4 years, 1 month ago

Morgan and Loveland PLEASE resign!

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headdoctor 4 years, 1 month ago

Sorry in advance for the copy and paste from another thread.

merrill (anonymous) says... Save Our Neighborhood Schools has identified cost savings of over $5.5 million. There are many ways to bridge the budget gap and these are just a few suggestions.


NO MERRILL, THE MONEY HAS NOT BEEN FOUND. Only a small part of the Save our Neighborhood schools list is even practical. What they are suggesting is band aid the immediate problem and create an absolute crisis in the next couple of years if not sooner. The local board cannot afford to be stupid enough to take action assuming that Legislators are all of a sudden going to gain intelligence and do the right thing.

Where was all this concern about losing schools when it comes to promoting East Lawrence as good place for families to move to? Where was all the concern when every time someone wanted to do something in East Lawrence that might help the situation get shot down by the preservationist groups? The situation surrounding New York Grade School is not new. It has been on the radar for years. All I have ever seen is people running their mouth, standing around with theirs hands out waiting for their share of block grants, complaining how there wasn't enough or spent on the right issues. Neighborhood groups can be a wonderful thing but they need to do more than whine and have feel good, share a group hug gathering or picnics.

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paulette2 4 years, 1 month ago

VOTE accordingly for an all new school board as soon as possible!

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ajsmomma 4 years, 1 month ago

We should all be glad that the board is listening to the public and allowing us to voice our concerns. This could be like the KC schools where they just told the public what was going to happen and they had to just live with it. And this list that has been presented to the board, do we not think they've already thought about all of that, do we not think that they have gone through every possible combination? It's a bad situation all the way around, we've got a good board that is looking out for our children, I would not want to be in their shoes right now.

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blackfox 4 years, 1 month ago

THis is to simple. CUT EXPENSES! Quit building new buildings, buying new computers, and most of all, cut the above mentioned PAYROLL! Who needs all of these "directors"

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barrypenders 4 years, 1 month ago

"The school board will do just what they want no matter what the community says or wants."

Well Well Well PADs Demand more money, Tax everyone for the babies, and The Posercare is doing exactly what the country wants.

Well Well Well

Stimulus, PAD Takers and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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headdoctor 4 years, 1 month ago

queequeg (anonymous) says... This is not about usd 497 or the administrators. This is a statewide problem and it needs to be fixed by property owners paying more taxes. I've watched for over 20 years now, the republicans in Kansas and the US running on a 'cut-taxes' platform. This is what we get. I hate paying taxes, too but I also see the need for all of us to pitch in to make our children's future better. Man up!


Yeah, but this is typical politics. The same bunch of hand wringing idiots will turn right around and keep voting into office the same morons or their clones.

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Matt Needham 4 years, 1 month ago

If we save schools today what about next year, and the year after that? When do you think the Kansas legislators will be inclined to increase school funding? As I understand it they are at the limits of the cuts the feds allow, and still working hard to figure out how to cut more money. When are Kansans going to be willing to pay more in taxes for schools? In the next decade we will see America decide to back education as advantageous for the entire country, or we will be looking back on the 20th century as the high point in our achievements and status as a nation.

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honestone 4 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Headdoctor. The board had it's mind made up already. All of the public comment sessions have been eyewash only

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seeingred 4 years, 1 month ago

Well Well Well, back to closing schools, I am not suprised. I went through this in 1997 and again in 2003. The school board will do just what they want no matter what the community says or wants. I removed my children from this PLACE this past school year. They now go to school in a different city. Smartest thing I ever did. We love our new school district, not that they aren't facing some issues also but they are willing to do the hard things that lawrence won't. I feel bad for all of the kids here because in the end they are the one who will suffer. I was told once by lawrence adim. that kids will adapt and they will be ok, not true most of the kids who's school closed were split into different schools and we were told by doing this we can give the kids more resources HAHA never saw them. Sorry Lawrence parents you are in for a long and tireing fight with a very dissapointing outcome on your hands.

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John Kyle 4 years, 1 month ago

This is not about usd 497 or the administrators. This is a statewide problem and it needs to be fixed by property owners paying more taxes. I've watched for over 20 years now, the republicans in Kansas and the US running on a 'cut-taxes' platform. This is what we get. I hate paying taxes, too but I also see the need for all of us to pitch in to make our children's future better. Man up!

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headdoctor 4 years, 1 month ago

While I think there is still some hope for a couple of the newer members this shouldn't really be a big surprise. The board is operating just like the City Commission. More often than not, their minds are made up before the public ever gets involved. Just another version of symbolism over substance.

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barrypenders 4 years, 1 month ago

Oh, the kids are so misused. Rampant 'Carnal Knowledge' among some of the most respected PADs in the area need their babies trained in centers dotted pell mell around the village. Training Centers logistically scattered about ensures that the babies will be trained to become productive members of society.

Save Pell Mell Village Traning Centers

Stimulus, Helter Skelter, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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Jeremy DeBoard 4 years, 1 month ago

Closure of a school should be put to a vote by the public. Yes yes, the school board was chosen to handle said issues, but honestly such a decision shouldn't be left to them. If Lawrence votes to not close, then the board will have to find other ways to get things worked out.

Let's have a public vote and see where Lawrence truly lies.

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texburgh 4 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, IBike...The Kansas Association of School Boards pushed through legislation several years ago making it harder to do a recall. School closure decisions was their rationale back then. Now a board member must do something illegal to be subject to a recall. You can't even recall the village idiot.

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Hydra 4 years, 1 month ago

No suprise here. The only priority of the school board and the admininstration is.....the school board and administration!

The board demands the right to dictate and the administration wants to protect their cushy, public trough jobs.

Has anyone ever stopped to consider that maybe one reason the legislature is so slow to fund education is the administrative pork?

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grammaddy 4 years, 1 month ago

..." there are things in education that are more important than the buildings." You mean like OUR KIDS maybe...?

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in123 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott, don't miss the opportunity to close and "sell" Wakarusa Valley. One of the good ol' boys will steal the property for below market value and the district can build a brand new school in a couple of years. Some developer probably needs a place to keep up with First Management. This district continues to find ways to build while its enrollment does not increase. New junior high school, new athletic facilities, expanded junior highs...the list goes on.

Merrill, don't encourage the admin to move. Next thing you know they will be occupying empty space out on Wakarusa to bail out one of the boys that can't sell/lease their space.

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IBike100 4 years, 1 month ago

How about a recall election?

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Kookamooka 4 years, 1 month ago

Trol, you are just wrong. There are so many other options out there. The administration doesn't want to make any concessions to the community. It's afraid to set a precedent. In my experience, they don't work hard enough and there are too many people doing the same job. No other school district in Kansas has TWO H.R. DIRECTORS.

Seriously, the administration does NOT need their fancy digs. They can move into unused classroom space and feel the squeeze. Other district administrations in other school districts are doing the right thing and bleeding themselves in good faith before they have to hurt students. Not USD497. They'd rather take it out of the hide of teachers and students. They have their priorities ALL WRONG. I'm really dissapointed.

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notjustyoureverydayaveragetrol 4 years, 1 month ago

it may not be the popular decision to close school, hoever, it is the smart and right decision, its what's best for the kids.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

The admin building that was not a necessary purchase in the first place should go on the market and move admin into the virtual school location. The city needs to have that location back on the commercial property list for the sake of tax dollar revenue. Our admin does not need extravagant office space thank you. Let's move admin back into the community.

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

Save Our Neighborhood Schools has identified cost savings of over $5.5 million. There are many ways to bridge the budget gap and these are just a few suggestions. We hope the board considers cost savings that protect students, teachers, schools and neighborhoods. http://www.saveourneighborhoodschools.com/

====================================================================== Top USD 497 Admin Officials could use some trimming back I’d say considering such high dollar salaries:

Chief Officers - 2 = $ 278,047

Coordinator - 1 = $76,808

Director, Assistant - 3 = $276,461

Directors - 3 = $ 279,240 / $72,612 paid from local funds

Division Directors - 9 = $988,797 / $74,367 paid from Food Service funds

Specialist - 6 = $ 494,209 / $150,908 paid from Federal Funds

Superintendent - 1 = $174,706 / Required by Statute

Supervisor = $ 96,521

Total Pay in USD 497 tax Dollars = $2,660,789

There are a lot of “directors” positions in this equation. Chief Officers?? Administrative Services Expenditures http://www.saveourneighborhoodschools.com/documents/

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