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.