Some education-oriented items from around the area:
Lawrence school district officials are busy analyzing how closing one or two of three elementary schools in Lawrence — Cordley, Pinckney and Wakarusa Valley — would affect students, the district and others next year and beyond.
The three schools have been identified by members of the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force as candidates for recommended closure.
Just what affect such moves would have will be the subject of detailed analyses to be reviewed Monday during the task force’s next meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.
Each of six scenarios — three involving the closure of one school, and then three that would pair schools for closure — will be analyzed to provide requested information, said Rick Doll, district superintendent. Specifically:
• New boundaries, described by Doll as “rough, proposed boundary changes,” that would determine where displaced students would go to school.
• Projections for how such shifts would affect class sizes in schools receiving additional students.
• Projections for total savings, separated into two categories: staff savings, as in reductions in the number of teachers; and administrative and operational savings, accounting for fewer principals, secretaries, utilities needs and other expenses.
• Possible effects on English as a Second Language instruction, especially considering that Cordley is one of two “community” sites in the district for such ESL programs.
• Possible effects of special education, particularly autism programs.
• Effects on bus patterns.
Task force members are nearing the end of their appointed work, to “recommend a community vision and plan for the school district’s elementary facilities that reflect the varied community and educational values and how to best reflect those values given the restraints of current and anticipated district resources.”
Recommendations are due to the board by the end of the month. Task force members anticipate making their formal presentation to the board Feb. 28.
Abi Elmore, a third-grader at the Lawrence Virtual School, won second place in this year’s Young Authors Contest, sponsored by Kansas Public Telecommunications Service Inc., a.k.a. Kansas Public Television.
Who may not be able to own a hard-cover copy of her book — “Rondo” — just yet, you still can enjoy the content: There’s a video of Abi herself reading her book, while plenty of her own illustrations grace the screen.
First Student Inc. would remain the district’s provider of bus transportation, under a proposed contract extension up for approval Monday night by the school board.
The five-year extension would take effect at the end of the district’s current contract with First Student, which ends June 30.
The proposal reflects depressed economic conditions. First Student would decrease its rates by 0.6 percent for the first year, then impose increases ranging from 1.5 percent to 5 percent for each of the next four years. By comparison, the current contract started with no increase in year one, followed by annual increases of 2.5 percent.
“We ... look forward to partnering with the district as we deal with the current state funding challenges,” said Steven Roessler, region vice president, in a letter to the district.
Monday’s board meeting begins at 7 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.
— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open: firstname.lastname@example.org.