Archive for Friday, February 18, 2011

Lawrence’s Central might include ‘Liberty’ in school’s name

February 18, 2011


Central Junior High School looks to go old school when it becomes a middle school this summer.

A committee of parents, staffers, students and community members is recommending that the building at 1400 Mass. combine Central with its original name, Liberty Memorial, to form a new name, one expected to be designated July 1.

Options being recommended to the Lawrence school board for consideration:

• Central Liberty Middle School.

• Liberty Central Middle School

• Central Middle School, Liberty Memorial Building.

“There could be some way to cleverly combine the two,” said Anna Stubblefield, Central’s principal.

The committee’s recommendation comes as naming studies are nearly complete for the Lawrence school district’s junior highs, which are reconfiguring into middle schools for the 2011-12 academic year. For the first time, the schools will have sixth-graders and no longer will have ninth-graders.

Committees and administrators at South and Southwest junior highs already have concluded that the names basically should stay the same: South Middle School and Southwest Middle School. West Junior High’s committee still hasn’t decided, although parents, boosters and staffers already have “resoundingly” indicated support for retaining the “West” name, Principal Myron Melton said.

“We’ll see if the students agree,” Melton said. “If I talk to students around the building, they favor keeping the name. But we’ll give them all a chance to weigh in.”

The naming discussions started Jan. 13, as the Lawrence school board decided — on a 4-3 vote — to pursue changing the names of all four schools. The recommendation from administrators simply had been to change “junior high” to “middle” in each name, and call it good.

But some board members suggested instead that students, staffers and supporters could come up with more creative names, ones that would help mark the fresh start of reconfiguring the junior highs into middle schools.

This week, Central’s naming committee chose to turn back time. The school’s current home opened in 1923 as Liberty Memorial High School, a monument to high school graduates and others from Lawrence who had died in World War I.

Recent support for bringing back the name included a letter from members of the American Legion. A survey of teachers and other school staffers drew 50 responses, with eight saying they would favor using “Liberty” or “Liberty Memorial” in some manner, Stubblefield said; the others said they would prefer to stick simply with “Central.”

Central’s naming committee included Vanessa Sanburn, one of four school board members who had voted Jan. 13 to seek new names for the junior highs.

Rick Doll, district superintendent, said that he planned to prepare name recommendations for consideration by the board, likely sometime around spring break.


amac 6 years, 7 months ago

How 'bout Liberty Memorial Middle School Mustangs! I assume they'll still be Mustangs....

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 7 months ago

"West Junior High’s committee still hasn’t decided, although parents, boosters and staffers already have “resoundingly” indicated support for retaining the “West” name, Principal Myron Melton said."

Melton said “If I talk to students around the building, they favor keeping the name."

Sounds to me that you don't really need the committee to weigh-in Myron. It appears that the people have spoken. Why should the committee have any more sway than the constituents?

Daniel Speicher 6 years, 7 months ago

Although I certainly agree with a populist mentality as much as the next guy... It's also important to keep in mind that we are talking about students who have a three year shelf life at the school. I think the committee might give a more broad view of the process.

Having said that... I really dig keeping the cardinal directions attached to the schools.

--Danny Speicher

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 7 months ago

Danny - you did see that it isn't JUST the students didn't you?

Parents, boosters and STAFF all RESOUNDINGLY support retaining the WEST name.

LisaGreenwood 6 years, 7 months ago

The committee is made up of parents, students, and staff. The committee does not have more sway than the constituents -- it's purpose is to gather information and present the response of the constituents to the Board.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 7 months ago

What's taking so long then Ms. Greenwood? According to the head of the building, the parents, boosters, staff and students all resoundingly prefer to retain the WEST name. The other three school's committees seem to be ready to report. Why aren't you?

das 6 years, 7 months ago

Branding is expensive......signage changes....shirts and jerseys.....stationary....I'm sure I'm missing a few things here and there as well. What about official City documents etc. There are direct and indirect fees for doing just about anything.

sunflowerhue 6 years, 7 months ago

yeah, and the fight songs of some of the schools too! Re-paint the gyms, pull-up the tile at Central. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I thought the school district was broke? Let's close schools to save money and cut teachers, but let's change names, buy new uniforms, etc.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

"Is the school boards nuts?" Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Well maybe a little. In spite of hard times they agreed Monday to spend nearly $500,000 on new bleachers.

In spite of knowing this:




Yes I agree why the change in names? It won't come for free. Where's the money?

GardenMomma 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't recall voting either for or against upgrading sports facilities. What year did this vote happen?

Prairielander 6 years, 7 months ago

The athletic facility improvements were never included in any bond issue vote. 2.4 million was money "left over" from the 2005 bond issue. I'm not sure where the rest came from. Also, the original proposal for the athletic facilities was about $12M. Even before this most recent proposal, I've heard the total costs for these facilities are over $18M.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

Nobody ever talks about how much money this will cost the taxpayers.

hail2oldku 6 years, 7 months ago

Plenty of people have asked that question. The problem is Fagan isn't one of them. Either that or the board won't answer the question.

mfagan 6 years, 7 months ago

Administrators have said they don't have any plans to spend any extra money on new sports uniforms, etc.; those would be replaced -- and, if necessary, names changed -- according to the schools' regular schedules. (BTW: Not all uniforms say "Junior High" or "JH" on them, so some uniforms at South, Southwest and West wouldn't "need" any changes anyway. Remember, all mascots are staying the same, too.) A little less clear is whether the names outside the schools themselves would be changed next year, or if paint schemes on the gym floors, etc., would be changed. What is clear: The schools will become middle schools for next year, whether or not the names outside will reflect that. South Middle School. Southwest Middle School. West Middle School. Central appears poised to add "Liberty," should the school board agree, and the building already says "Liberty Memorial" on it. Formal decisions about what will or will not get spent on renaming anything still await, depending on what the board ultimately decides... - Mark Fagan Schools reporter (and, yes, taxpayer)

Kash_Encarri 6 years, 7 months ago

Mark - what we haven't seen addressed is the cost associated with these changes. Yes, uniforms generally just say West, South, Central and South West. Those would need to be replaced IF the schools changed their names to something other than South Middle School, etc. There is also the signage & letterhead and other branding items that need to be changed just in changing from JH to MS. What are those costs going to be? Why do they need to change? Olathe made this same transition without changing the school name to middle school from junior high. Baldwin has a 6/7/8 junior high. Where's your story on the many other school districts in the state with 6/7/8 as middle school v junior high? Come on Mark.

honestone 6 years, 7 months ago

This is just like the "school closing" committee. You pick a few people that already think like the school board...the committee investigates...and have a community backed decision. Spending this kind of money for a name change is insane. I can't believe that the board would consider this durig the tough financial time we are experiencing. It must be to distract the community from what the board is really doing

sickofdummies 6 years, 7 months ago

Just gotta say, you got that one wrong. The school task force had open application process. There are actually quite a few that are working on the committee who were in the "Save our Neighborhood Schools" group last year. The fact that after looking at the evidence, have come to similar conclusions as the board had last year, only reinforces the need to move forward with making some changes.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

"The money spent on bleachers was already agreed to when they got the money to upgrade sports at both schools!!! The money was already approved by the voters. "

Taxpayers/voters did not have the opportunity to vote on the sports project. The admin and board decided to bypass the taxpayers because they good.

homechanger 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't remember seeing sports facility upgrades on the ballot.

sickofdummies 6 years, 7 months ago

I was told that this was several year ago when the money was raised, so it was earmarked for "sports facilities." That would mean that they would not need to get voter approval for specific use as long as it falls into that category? But, again...just what I was told.

Jimo 6 years, 7 months ago

Can Equality and Fraternity be far behind? (or for that matter, the guillotine?)

Dan Thalmann 6 years, 7 months ago

Modern pop culture has put a lot of attention on the Constitution and our Founding Fathers, etc., lately. Sounds like the addition of "Liberty" to the school's name may be a reflection of that, especially considering the school's historic ties to the word. So unless Lawrence folks want to be lumped in with Tea Partiers, they should have none of it! Central Middle School is a much more unique name and they should stick with that.

GardenMomma 6 years, 7 months ago

"The school’s current home opened in 1923 as Liberty Memorial High School, a monument to high school graduates and others from Lawrence who had died in World War I."

I don't think the word "Liberty" is referring to the Constitution or the Founding Fathers in this case.

The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City is also a tribute to WWI veterans.

irvan moore 6 years, 7 months ago

this is a tremendous waste of limited resources.

greenworld 6 years, 7 months ago

They can close down 4 more schools to pay for the cost of everything.lmao

SofaKing 6 years, 7 months ago

What Beatnik said, huge waste of money.

And what about my red bumper sticker that says, "My child is a CJHS........"

beaujackson 6 years, 7 months ago

Taxpayers should look very closely at the fine print before they vote for any 497 projects. The devil is in the details.

Prairielander 6 years, 7 months ago

I think the problems with past bond issues is there has not been enough fine print. The school board was given too much latitude in spending which is why we have $18M in sports facilities but still must deal with portable classrooms.

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