Archive for Monday, December 5, 2011

First Bell: Veritas senior earns nomination to U.S. Naval Academy; Consolidation Working Group ready to focus on scenarios tonight

December 5, 2011


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The folks at Veritas Christian School — and one student’s family in particular — received some good news recently from the nation’s capital.

Preston Randall

Preston Randall

Preston Randall, a senior at Veritas Christian, received an nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy from U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.

The nomination sends Randall’s name to the academy, which now must determine whether Randall meets requirements for admission. The academy makes the final decision about appointments for admission.

Randall is seeking to become a member of the academy class that enters in the summer.

“He wants to serve,” said Carol Rau, development director for the school, 256 N. Mich. “He exemplifies what we are seeking to promote in our students, in kindergarten through their senior year — just to strive for excellence in academics, extracurricular activities and service to the community as a whole.”

Randall, one of 11 seniors at Veritas, is the son of Kelly and Jeff Randall.

Yoder has nominated 10 students from his 3rd District for appointment to the academy. They joined eight others seeking admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy and another eight looking to attend the U.S. Military Academy.

“The caliber of these nominees is very impressive; our district will be very well represented,” Yoder said, in a statement. “These young men and women are our future, and I wish them well as they seek an appointment to an academy.”


The Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group will have four specific scenarios to review during tonight’s meeting, the first of five sessions remaining before the group’s overall recommendations are due to the Lawrence school board.

Each of the proposals is scheduled for a 20-minute presentation from its creators. The presentation also would include time for questions and answers.

Here’s a basic look at each of the proposals, listed in order that they will be presented once the meeting begins at 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive:

• From representatives of Hillcrest School: Expand Hillcrest so that it could accommodate students coming over from Sunset Hill School. Some students from Sunset Hill could be sent to Quail Run School.

• From representatives of Kennedy School: Close both Kennedy and New York School and consolidate the bulk of those students — all of Kennedy’s and most of New York’s — at a new school, which would be built on a site at or near the former East Heights School, 1430 Haskell Ave. Hillcrest and Sunset Hill would combine at an expanded or new school at the Sunset Hill site, with some of Hillcrest’s English as a Second Language students being sent to an expanded Cordley School.

• From representatives of Sunset Hill: Expand Sunset Hill and close Pinckney School, whose students would move to Hillcrest. The expanded Sunset Hill would handle students from Hillcrest and potentially welcome some students from Sunflower School. Broken Arrow could become a site for English as a Second Language students.

• From representatives of Pinckney: Close Hillcrest, and send the Hillcrest’s English as a Second Language students to Schwegler, Cordley and Prairie Park schools; Hillcrest’s other students would go to Sunset Hill, although some could be directed to Pinckney. Also: Kennedy and New York would close, with the bulk of those students going to a new school built at an expanded East Heights site.

To see the actual documents, the first three are available at this link (scroll past the "proposed criteria."), and Pinckney's revised version is available here.

The working group has representatives from six schools identified by the Lawrence school board for potential consolidation: Cordley, Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney and Sunset Hill. Representatives from Woodlawn School also serve, although the school is not being considered for consolidation.

The school board has charged the group with recommending a plan that would consolidate the list of six schools to down to either three or four within two years.

Recommendations are due by the end of January.


deenaholmes 6 years, 4 months ago

Online courses allow us to serve students who live too far away to attend face–to–face courses. For instance High Speed Universities offer courses all over us and can get degree in months even while working.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

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Dog 6 years, 4 months ago

I am interested to find out why none of the suggestions have included moving students out of Cordley. If you read the report regarding the conditions of the schools on the list for consolidation that building is not in good shape and needs costly repairs to bring it up to ADA compliance. While I repect the history and the beauty of the building, I really don't believe that after looking at the facts it is one that should be used for students. It would be a wonder office building for all of the traveling staff in the district or the virtual school. Students in that area could be split between Schwegler, Broken Arrow and Pinckney. Then if needed overflow from Broken Arrow could be moved to Prairie Park. Just my thoughts!

Melissa Isaacs 6 years, 4 months ago

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts, Dog. Also, I just wanted to share something I recently learned in researching how our schools are funded and how those funds are distributed within the school district. When the school district builds a new facility, or a new addition to an existing facility, the pupils attending that school, or using that addition, generate 25% more state aid (for a period of two years) than if they remain in an existing school. So, if base state aid is $4012 per pupil, the district would receive $1,604,800 for a group of 400 students in their existing school(s). If the district builds a new school for 400 kids, it receives $2,006,000. To make a long story short, USD 497 has a clear incentive to build big new schools, whether that's what is best for our kids or not.

Dog 6 years, 4 months ago

I am not so sure why people are afraid of bigger schools. I have friends whose children attend schools in other states that are between 400 and 500 kids. They cannot say enough wonderful things about the education that their children are receiving. I think that people need to focus on the quality of the curriculum, instructions and the programs that are offered. School districts that know how to provide quality educational programing and services can handle schools with any size population.

My child attended an elementary school with 1,300 students and I have to say that we loved it. The staff was wonderful and his education did not suffer at all. We loved the diversity of the community and the school was built to accommodate that many children. I am not suggesting that Lawrence Schools need to be that large, but a school of less than 300 really seems limiting.

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