That was the message Thursday to Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll from lobbyists for Kansas school boards and superintendents after the House Appropriations Committee endorsed a budget that would require deeper education cuts.
“It’s not good news, but it may be some political posturing that’s happening right now,” Doll said. “We’ll wait and see what actually comes out of the House.”
Lawrence school board members, who already have approved $4.6 million in cuts for next school year, have said legislators must increase taxes to keep the board from having to cut deeper.
“The frustrating part is that the Legislature doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency, and people have to get on with their lives,” board member Mary Loveland said. “Teachers need to know if they have jobs.”
School board members have approved a deep list of school program and administrative cuts and voted to increase the student-teacher ratio by one student across the district. Administrators are still determining how many teachers will lose their jobs because 30 teachers also plan to retire.
The board voted to not close any of the district’s elementary schools and to appoint a task force to study the district’s older and smaller buildings. Doll said if the district was faced with making even deeper cuts, board members would need to decide whether to put closing schools back on the table.
“I don’t think anybody wants to go there, but I serve at the pleasure of the board,” Doll said. “We have the numbers. It’s not like anything has changed. It’s just whether they would decide to direct us to look at that again.”
As part of the recent cuts, board members voted to move the Early Childhood Family Center from East Heights to Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road. A total of 130 half- and full-time students attend the early childhood program.
Doll said administrators are considering a boundary change that would move students who live in the northern part of Kennedy’s district into New York School, 936 N.Y., as a way to accommodate the increase in students at Kennedy.
Board members have been invited to participate in a public forum about the impending changes at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kennedy’s gymnasium.