On Monday, members of the Lawrence school board will consider creating a “working group” to formulate a plan to consolidate six local elementary schools in the next two or three years.
The plan outlined in the board’s online agenda is basically sound, but it includes one provision that may send the wrong message to district patrons. The proposed working group would have 25 members, including four “stakeholders” from each of the six elementary schools along with an at-large, appointed chair. Each school’s site council would recommend seven potential members, the proposal says, and “the superintendent shall appoint three members from these nominations and one at-large member who lives in the attendance area.”
Although board policies allow the superintendent to make such appointments, it would be more appropriate for those choices to be made by the elected board president with the consent of the board. Following that process would help lessen any perception that district administrators already have reached decisions on how the elementary consolidation should go and simply want a working group that will ratify those decisions.
How the appointments are made is a small point and might make little difference in the actual makeup of the working group. Nonetheless, as a matter of perception and process, it seems the district’s elected officials are the ones who should be making those choices.