Archive for Monday, March 22, 2010

School board president wants to stick by plan not to close schools for next year

Legislature may short district another $1.68M

Lawrence school board members from left, Scott Morgan, Vanessa Sanburn, Marlene Merrill, Mary Loveland, Bob Byers, Mark Bradford and Rich Minder.

Lawrence school board members from left, Scott Morgan, Vanessa Sanburn, Marlene Merrill, Mary Loveland, Bob Byers, Mark Bradford and Rich Minder.

March 22, 2010


School board president wants to stick by budget plan

The Lawrence school board president says it’s unlikely board members will reopen talks of closing schools if the district has to consider deeper budget cuts for next school year. Enlarge video

The Lawrence school board president says it’s unlikely board members will reopen talks of closing schools if the district has to consider deeper budget cuts for next school year.

“I think it would be far more productive and better for the long-term health of our community, of our schools and most importantly of our kids, if we stick to that idea of having a task force where we can discuss what we want our facilities to look like,” Scott Morgan, the board president, said Monday.

Kennedy School Forum

As part of the recent cuts, Lawrence school board members voted to move the Early Childhood Family Center from East Heights, 15th Street and Haskell Avenue, to Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road. A total of 130 half- and full-time students attend the early childhood program.

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.

Two weeks ago, board members agreed to cut $4.6 million for next school year without closing any elementary schools. They did opt to close the East Heights Early Childhood Family Center and move those pre-kindergarten programs into Kennedy School.

Board members agreed to appoint a community task force to study the district’s older and smaller elementary school buildings in case the district has to make more cuts for 2010-2011.

Jessica Beeson, a member of Save Our Neighborhood Schools, said one of the selling points of Morgan’s compromise was that the district and community would spend more time studying and planning the makeup of the district. Board members are also considering whether to move ninth-grade students up to high schools and sixth-graders into schools with seventh- and eighth-graders.

“We’d like to come a long way together by then,” Beeson said.

Board members have warned the district might need to make deeper cuts than $4.6 million if the Legislature doesn’t pass a tax increase.

House Republican leaders presented a plan last week that would short the Lawrence district another $1.68 million, but proponents said the bill would allow districts like Lawrence to raise local property taxes to add revenue.

Morgan said if Lawrence faced an additional $1.68 million in cuts, board members would likely look at cutting more teaching jobs and deeper into student support services.

He said he did not support the House plan, but if it was approved, Lawrence would need to enact a 5-mill increase for next year to keep from cutting deeper. He also said the plan raises questions about equity in school funding across the state after Kansas went through a major school finance lawsuit in the last decade.

A mill is $1 in property taxes for every $1,000 in assessed valuation. For a $200,000 home, an increase of 5 mills would mean about $115 in new taxes.


gr3sam 7 years, 10 months ago

paulette2: did Doll also say, "nyuck, nyuck, nyuck" and poke someone in the eyes?

budwhysir 7 years, 10 months ago

And the school board only approves what they understand to be politically confusing. I could say more but do I have too? What a waste of paper and ink, let alone a waste of time given this is just another politically driven school board speech that has nothing to do with our children, schools, or learning

conservative 7 years, 10 months ago

Say no to tax increases that only serve to keep open underutilized and extremely expensive schools. School board should have taken the realistic approach that funding wasn't going to increase for next year and made the decision to close the small schools the first time through. Instead of inconviencing a few students by making them change schools we hurt them all by increasing class sizes, cutting support positions, and raiding the accounts that would have paid for new materials

svenway_park 7 years, 10 months ago

Of course Paulette told us in print in the newspaper he supported the school boards plans for the LHS athletic fields. He then filed a frivolous lawsuit and lied to this forum several hundred times, getting booted off a half dozen times for abusive behaviors in the process.

Clevercowgirl 7 years, 10 months ago


There should be a lot of consideration going into a decision to close a school. When a school is closed, that is more than a few students who are "inconvenienced". If you were following the school closing scenarios, you would realize that just closing a school, without adjusting boundaries, leads to serious overcrowding in bordering schools. Also, with boundary changes, an underutilized school can become well utilized. As for cost per pupil, adjustments have to be made for the higher paid, long time teachers that enjoy the smaller school setting. In our current budget shortfall, 4.6M could not be gleaned through closing schools. Keep in mind that 300-500K is gained per school closing. Would you have us close 9 - 10 schools? All children in our school system are being hurt by the KS legislature's failure to fund our most precious asset - our children. Conservative: if you want to keep educational cuts from being made, why don't you encourage your GOP buddies to raise the state income tax on the top 5% of wage earners. Or, why don't we pass on renewing corporate tax cuts. This sounds a lot less painful than short-shrifting our children and the saints we call teachers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Morgan is just positioning himself for another run for state senator. He couldn't care less about E. Lawrence schools.

MIke Mallory 7 years, 10 months ago

we need to implement a 10% sales tax rate for 2 years to get the state out of this mess, if you dont choose to buy items, then you dont get taxed, if you do, you can help pay for our schools. that extra 2-3% would generate millions of needed dollars. ok potheads, start complaining about my post.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

"ok potheads, start complaining about my post."

What the hell does that mean?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Save Our Neighborhood Schools is an organization of substance. I hope they stick around for years and years. Good work!

Cooky_the_Cook 7 years, 10 months ago

What we really need to do is grow some weed and sell it, then put all of the proceeds from the taxes into the schools. Make weed legal, then do that. I mean, you know what I mean. Legalize weed, tax it, sell it, give the tax money to schools, not all of the money, keep most of it, give the tax part to schools. Wait.. what were we talking about? Lionbacker, your post sucks, man.

Robert Rauktis 7 years, 10 months ago

I think we start taxing calories in lunch boxes or the cafeteria. Looking at this community, we'd make a fortune. Save the public on insurance costs as well.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 10 months ago

Maybe a few of the following can occur:

Maybe Merrill will start mowing the school grounds for free.

Maybe we can get rid of Kathy Johnson and hire Raquel Alexander (KU prof who spoke about allocations) for 1/2 of what we are paying Kathy. Since she cares so much about schools and our children, she should jump at the chance. If this happens, we must realize that even though she is a CPA, she does not know everything about school finance.

geekyhost 7 years, 10 months ago

It may not be fair to other districts, but I don't live in other districts. Just raise the mil already. I'd much rather have support services available to my kids than keep an extra bit of property taxes. Count me in. Or raise my tuition. Don't buy new textbooks. Do something that doesn't involve firing teachers and paras.

I'd be fine with closing schools, too, but it doesn't seem like that would really save all that much in the long run.

Clevercowgirl 7 years, 10 months ago

Okay Lionbacker. you've only lured one possible pot smoker out of the weeds :-D

Okay Paulette 2, why don't we elect some of the strong, smart women from Wakarusa and SONS to the City Commission and School Board. Then you and others can help us govern in a manner that benefits the majority.

garyr 7 years, 10 months ago

I didn't know Janet Reno, Don King, Jim Bob Duggar and Danny Bonaduce where on the Lawrence School Board!!!

CreatureComforts 7 years, 10 months ago

Man, LJW really got their moneys worth when they put together this photo...

volunteer 7 years, 10 months ago

I know some superintendents who actually provide some leadership and guidance...

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