To the editor:
My child attends Cordley Elementary School and I’m writing regarding the recent talk of school closings. Before a school is closed, every other pocket of money needs to be examined to find creative means of filling the $4 million deficit. While the recession and budget crises are temporary, closing a school will have a permanent impact on Lawrence and the neighborhoods surrounding that school.
I understand some of the older buildings need updates. Capital outlay funds are available for such updates. Deferred maintenance costs can’t be used as a reason for closing any of Lawrence’s elementary schools.
Lawrence only has neighborhood schools. The people who live here, particularly on the east side (according to Dr. Doll anything east of Sunset Hill), like the idea that their children attend smaller schools within walking distance from home. East Lawrence schools are serving the very population the school board claims as their No. 1 priority outlined in the district’s goals: “Raise achievement for all students while closing the achievement gaps.” The evidence is clear: That is what the smaller “east” side schools are succeeding at.
This is a burden that should be carried by the entire community, not just residents east of Iowa street. I understand teachers and administrators will be terminated no matter what decision is made. I understand that redrawing the boundary lines (in conjunction with increasing class size and, yes, laying off teachers) may not be popular, but isn’t it better than closing a school? Lawrence is one community.