Lawrence will be well-represented among the 1,000-plus people expected to attend Tuesday’s education funding rally in Topeka.
Members of the group Save Our Neighborhood Schools are organizing a bus leaving at 10:30 a.m. from the Lawrence High School parking lot, 1901 La. Lawrence board member Vanessa Sanburn said she will be among those on bus.
Advocates estimate 150 to 200 people from the Lawrence area will attend the rally from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday on the east side of the Statehouse. Organizer Christie Slay said she expects people from at least 30 communities to attend.
Due to the state’s budget crisis, Lawrence board members last week approved $4.6 million in budget cuts, including increasing the student-teacher ratio by one student to cut 21 teaching jobs; $914,195 in administration and clerical support cuts; gutting the district’s learning coach program; and moving the East Heights Early Childhood Family Center to Kennedy School.
Administrators have said the district’s 30 teaching retirements will offset much of those job cuts, but they still expect to make some layoffs.
Members of SONS successfully lobbied against closing any elementary schools for next year, but board members agreed to appoint a community task force to study the district’s older and smaller elementary buildings.
“We’re looking at major cuts next year again, and it’s scary to all of us” said Jessica Beeson, a SONS member. “We want to do everything we can.”
Participants in the rally will march at 11:15 a.m. from near Topeka High School, 800 S.W. 10th Ave. and the Kansas National Education Association’s headquarters to the Statehouse for the rally scheduled to begin at noon.
Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, is scheduled to speak along with Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and gubernatorial candidate Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City.
Beeson said the chartered bus from Lawrence has about 100 seats. As of Monday morning, between 70 and 80 seat were taken. The group is charging $6 per seat, and reservations are available on the group’s Web site.