Archive for Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Task force leader says group hasn’t made any firm decisions about closing elementary schools

February 1, 2011


Three elementary schools are targets for potential closure next year, but the leader of the Lawrence school board isn’t yet ready to sign off on a plan that remains more than three weeks from completion.

The three schools — Cordley, Pinckney and Wakarusa Valley — emerged as potential candidates for closure, as part of deliberations for a report to be compiled by the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force.

The task force, appointed last year by the Lawrence school board, is charged with developing a community-based vision for the district’s elementary schools that remains mindful of dwindling financial resources.

During the task force’s meeting Monday night, members reached a consensus to study the effects of closing any of the three schools next year. The schools were identified during discussion, not any sort of formal vote, by the 19 members attending at district headquarters.

Also through consensus, task force members said they would anticipate recommending one or two of the schools close next year. Such recommendations are due to board members by the end of this month.

After the meeting, Rich Minder, school board president, said he wasn’t ready to concede that any of the potential closures would make it into the task force’s final report.

“Stay tuned,” said Minder, a co-chairman of the task force. “We’ll have to see what happens that the next meeting.”

Several task force members had expressed concerns about recommending a closure or even consolidation of Cordley, while Pinckney also had some support. No task force members made a case to keep Wakarusa Valley open, although earlier discussions had raised concerns about the potential for increased transportation time by bus for students.

The next task force meeting is set to run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 14 at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. It would end just before a separate meeting of the full school board begins.

The task force then would have time to meet again Feb. 21 and, perhaps, Feb. 28 before presenting its finished report to board members, as expected, Feb. 28.


CNA_Resident 3 years, 2 months ago

I would like to know if the bigger question of feeder school closings/combining/etc. affecting high school enrollment has been addressed? I am unsure how many of the proposed schools under consideration feed to Lawrence High, and how many feed to FreeState?

Is there a flowchart showing the subsequent paths each of the remaining elementaries and middle schools into the two high schools?


wprop 3 years, 2 months ago

Millions spent on football feilds....racists unable to make a deal with Haskell....apartide agenda to make Free State look like suburban school to sell tract houses....that money could have been voted as a new bond issue.... what a waste...and houses being built...


commuter 3 years, 2 months ago

beaujackson- another major reason Cordley was spared was Austin Turney. H fought to make Weaseman the supt, without any type of real search. So when ordley was pu on the block, he made sure he Weaseman to make Cordley look less attractive to close.


beaujackson 3 years, 2 months ago

BOA and 497 administration motives have been suspect ever since they closed Centennial rather than Cordley.

They NEVER admitted their plan to use Centennial for LHS ball parks.

Closing Centennial was a nail in the coffin for families with children in a large area of central Lawrence.

BOA has been a lackey for the administration for too long. The tail has wagged the dog - and taxpayers.

Too many lies by administrators & BOA "sports-nuts" have left a sour taste in Lawrence taxpayers, and too many neighborhoods that have been ruined by their bad decisions.


Christine Pennewell Davis 3 years, 2 months ago

I say no, will not have a child in elem. next year but I have been through this twice already enough is enough so stop. and funk not saying you guys are better off but all the schools are cramed this year. Am sorry to hear kids lost a teacher they love that is just not right. But just so you know my daughter has over 30 in her class and there is only one 5th and 6th grade class at her school and the fourth has 2 classes at about 25 each all I can say is as much as I did not like the 6th grade move to jr high it is a good thing space wise next year for the elem. schools with all the cuts. This whole deal is wrong on many levels and it seems to me the kids are the ones that lose in these games.


patterte 3 years, 2 months ago

My kids go to Kennedy. I am not immune to the changes, nor am I ignorant of the plans to consolidate or close schools. We took on a new student population, structural changes to the building, a loss of playground space for older children, and a new principal.

Everybody wants to protect what's theirs, I get that.

What gets sad is that many people put their own issues ahead of the good of the greater Lawrence student community. Their political issues, their financial issues, their personal issues. Where was this outrage when many schools (including Kennedy) did not meet AYP in one or both subjects last year? Where is this outrage as kids go to school in trailers? (Because large schools are their own conundrum when there is no facility to house them.) The issues go on and on.

I want my kids to get a good education, and I believe they are getting that. I think we can do better. We have to do better. And that's going to mean sacrifices from everyone-- west side AND east side of town.


conservative 3 years, 2 months ago

Merrill you couldn't be more wrong. If they close two older smaller schools that require substantial upgrades to meet current requirements and build a new larger school they save lots of money in the long run. Less costly upkeep, 1 principal salary versus 2 plus not doubling up on all the rest of the support staff. And the people that currently have to go to multiple schools to see students will spend less time in cars and more time in classrooms.


none2 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't know about the conditions of the physical school buildlings, but I would say I think it is great that the kids have the underground crossing across 6th Street to get to Pinckney. Over the years I myself have also used it to cross the street. '

I hope that whatever cuts they make are based on what is best for the kids and saving the taxpayers money -- and not based on which neighborhood has the most clout either via money, connections or screaming the loudest.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

Closing schools to build new schools makes no sense.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

Mark Fagan

Will taxpayers be afforded the opportunity to vote on the bond issues?


irvan moore 3 years, 2 months ago

when will it ever end? instead of closing schools people who have school age children or who are planning families need to move into neighborhoods with schools instead of expecting schools to be built in an area that doesn't have schools. the time and money spent on this argument every year is absurd. this election ask every person running for the board what they will do.


Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe the bribes are still comming in?


Mike Myers 3 years, 2 months ago

patterte, FYI Cordley has always been the most vocal force behind SOS and there are Cordley parents on the task force so your assertion that the potential directions noted in the story are based on fear are completly unfounded. You should get more engaged in the debate. If you were you would know that there are many, many other issues at stake than simply existing school population. You might also know that the status of both New York and Kennedy are still unsure and that the story posted here has facts that were cherry-picked to stir things up. The task force is charged with a long range plan and the story above is only about the first stage of the long-range plan which is most definitely going to be about consolidation, bond issues, and construction.


patterte 3 years, 2 months ago

What happened to New York? Are we so afraid of the Save our Schools people that we aren't going to talk about the schools that were on the table last year? According to the USD 497 web site, both Cordley and Pinckney serve more students than New York, even AFTER the shift of Kennedy students to New York which resulted in a major hassle for those Kennedy parents.

It's time for us to do what needs to be done-- even if it angers some of the more vocal, entitled members of our community. No one likes it. But cutting services to all students so that a smaller number of students aren't inconvenienced doesn't make any sense. It makes more sense to close a school, or two, or three even, to keep the educational offerings the same or even better. Not to lower the standard for everyone so that S.O.S. doesn't start marching in the streets.


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