School process

Having the school superintendent appoint most of an elementary school working group doesn’t send the right message.

April 24, 2011


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.


Kookamooka 7 years, 1 month ago

The district seems to make t his mistake quite often. The heavy handed message they send is "we don't trust you" and the response in the community is inevitably, "WE don't trust YOU!" So...when the district needs community cooperation to pass...say...a bond issue for new buildings....the voters don't support them.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Again this rush approach sends a wrong message and is reckless. Wait for the elected BOE for this matter.

Show some respect for the voting citizen taxpayers of this school district who elected these new BOE members.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

I urge the voting public to attend the Monday April 25 meeting no matter what to express your viewpoint on these matters.

After all the USD 497 BOE works for we the taxpayers.

WilburM 7 years, 1 month ago

Give Doll his due -- consolidation (3 mega-elementary schools) is his answer. the only question is how to get to this desired end. And respecting the community is scarcely his chosen path.

  1. Wait for the new school board members , who will be sworn in in July (what a crazy, anti-democratic system).
  2. Have the school board appoint the advisory committee.
  3. For the moment, please stop talking about a new bond issue, just because the old debt is about to be wiped out.
  4. Address the issue of schools holistically -- re community, neighborhood, housing values (and taxes).

The public spoke clearly in electing the new board, in particular Moore, Diaz, and Mastern. Let's respect these choices and move ahead, but not on the Doll timetable but giving deference to the public and their newly elected representatives.

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