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Archive for Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force recommends Wakarusa Valley School closure, consolidation of at least four other schools

Students wave goodbye to staff and teachers at Wakarusa Valley School on the last day of school in this May 25, 2010 photo.

Students wave goodbye to staff and teachers at Wakarusa Valley School on the last day of school in this May 25, 2010 photo.

February 22, 2011

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Wakarusa Valley School would close next year and at least four of six other elementary schools in Lawrence would face consolidation within three to five years, under recommendations being forwarded to the Lawrence school board next week.

The recommendations won approval consensus Monday from the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force, whose members finished work that started upon their appointment more than eight months ago.

Scott Morgan, a school board member and co-chairman of the task force, hailed the group’s work compiling data, criteria and conclusions, offering concrete steps for solving “an issue that has challenged this community” for 25 to 30 years.

“It’s just been chewing at this community,” Morgan said. “We need to figure it out and take a step forward — whatever it is — and focus on what’s important here, and that’s the kids.

“I think we’ve taken a majestic step forward for this community. … It’s something we can build on.”

Members spent three hours discussing a variety of options for the future of the district’s 15 elementary schools, spending the bulk of their time deciding whether either one or two of three previously identified schools should close: Cordley, Pinckney or Wakarusa Valley.

In the end, members decided that Wakarusa Valley — the district’s smallest, with 165 students projected for next year — should be closed. The building is at 1104 E. 1000 Road, just southeast of Clinton Lake.

Consolidations

Also recommended by the task force: The school board should “start conversations” soon with administrators, teachers, parents and others connected with six other schools, to discuss how — not if — some schools would be consolidated during the next three to five years.

The six schools in the running for consolidation are Kennedy, New York, Pinckney, Cordley, Hillcrest and Sunset Hill.

The task force recommends that the school board consolidate the six schools into either four or possibly three, either by adding onto existing schools or building new ones. The district would propose financing the work with a bond issue that also would include improvements at remaining elementary schools, all without increasing the district’s current property tax rate.

Much of Monday’s discussion endorsed combining Kennedy and New York into one school, and Hillcrest and Sunset Hill into another. But members ultimately opted to support the inclusion of people who would be most affected by such decisions in helping make it work.

“It leaves it open for the community to come to the table, to be part of the process, so a bond issue is more likely to pass,” said Jessica Beeson, a task force member.

Board at attention

School board members are scheduled to receive the recommendations during their next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. Both Morgan and Rich Minder, the board’s president, served as leaders of the task force and will write the report that goes to the full board.

All five other board members were in the audience Monday, listening alongside dozens of parents, principals, school board candidates and others interested in the task force’s long-term vision for the district’s elementary schools, given financial constraints.

Vanessa Sanburn, for one, plans to meet soon with parents of some Wakarusa Valley students, to hear their concerns about their school’s potential closure.

She also knows that she and her fellow board members will need to cut $3 million in spending for the next academic year and that closing Wakarusa Valley would be expected to save the district nearly $500,000 a year beginning in 2011-12.

“I really appreciate all the work the task force did,” Sanburn said, after the meeting. “Their recommendation is a very heavy one. The budget situation is dire enough that I think I am prepared to take their recommendation and use it to prevent further program cuts. But I do want to have those conversations and see that their voices are heard.”

Jen Nelson, who has had two kids go through Wakarusa Valley and has another two there now, knows that board members have yet to decide anything and that there’s still time to make a case for keeping the school open.

But she heard plenty from task force members about the need for equity in the district, something she hopes holds true for families who would have their children transferred into Broken Arrow, Schwegler and Sunflower schools.

“The Wakarusa families need to have some say in how this all goes down,” said Nelson, a leader in the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Committee. “The sad thing is, our children will be all split up. My children will no longer have their buddies around them. But having said that, they will be OK. …

“It’s terrible for anyone, but there have to be sacrifices. And we’re the sacrificed.”

Comments

LogicMan 3 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunate, but hopefully it will be decided to rent out or mothball the building so that it can be reopened in the future as Lawrence expands into its already designated southern growth area.

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Cogito_Ergo_Es 3 years, 6 months ago

Nice sentiment, but mothballing is closure and it is forever. This recommendation is without consideration for that SW growth. Everyone but the task force and certain school board members can see that. The City and County commissioners know that as well as developers and real estate agents in town. Horizon 2020 plans for the growth south and west. But will people really come here and buy houses in an area south with no school at all, or will they buy one west so their child can be near a school that is terribly overcrowded? Where is that precious equity they keep talking about? Where's the learning for all? Not having Wakarusa creates incredible pressure and will stunt the growth of Lawrence to the SW. Langston is bursting at the seems. So is Sunflower. They could redraw the boundaries and move more kids down into Wakarusa to make it more efficient. But they simply choose not to. Oh, I know Langston and Sunflower folks won't like that, but I'll tell you what people, more kids are coming to your school and if you thought it was crowded now, just wait and see what they do to you in the next 3 years. You'll be begging to reopen Wakarusa to take the overflow. Sunflower will get 2-3 more classrooms full of kids next year immediately. Then they'll close Pinckney and Cordley and there will be a ripple effect both east and west. Those kids have to go somewhere. Just don't plan on being able to walk between the kids desks in the classrooms, not just for this reason, but closing Waky this year provides the absolute least savings, naturally it is the smallest. But that 3 million shortfall isn't going away. You know what's coming next, they will cut more programs and they will raise class sizes again. More overcrowding. Everyone seems to be of a mind that this only affects a few kids outside of town, but you are wrong. This affects all of you and it doesn't have to be this way. Every child especially in the west will suffer by closing Wakarusa. But hey, if it gets too crowded they can always bus your kids 6 miles east to the new Mega-mentary school on the east side on that land they purchased. If you don't want to drive that far you can just move out there. You know where, I mean? On the south east side there by the sewage treatment plant and the jail.

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friendlyjhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

And you are an expert on this because?

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GMom05 3 years, 6 months ago

So were you just dissenting for the heck of it or did you have a point to make?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

It was not obvious to me that the majority felt that this was the best decision to make.

They were under pressure to provide a consensus. The week before time ran out because consensus was not there.

This is NOT being done for the kids not by a long shot. That is absolute nonsense. This is being discussed because Topeka politicians subscribe to a non stop tax cutting vendetta that is harming our children.

In Capital Outlay USD 497 has a little over $9 million. I say they put 3 million of that into this ongoing problem instead of ignoring the situation any longer and STOP spending on the sports project: http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

It is still unclear how significant amounts of money can be saved by closing 4 schools and building two new structures to accommodate consolidation of those 4 schools.

Taxpayers will be asked to ante up. BOE members knew this consolidation plan was on their radar yet they approved spending nearly 20 million for the sports project. That I say is reckless management.

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GardenMomma 3 years, 6 months ago

Merrill, NINE people are running for school board positions. I think that says a lot. People are already fed up with the mismanagement of school finances. Just make sure you vote for the best candidates in April.

And, by the way, have YOU written to the state legislators?

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notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

Everyone should write to them. I have. Remember, if they cut special ed spending this year, we lose that matching money, and it's gone for good.

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shygal83 3 years, 6 months ago

If Wakarusa gets close some children will be forced to ride the bus over an hour each way to school, which is ludicrous. That is not fair to the children. Closing schools do not really save money. Most teachers are just allocated to different school. The cost to upkeep the building still exist (you have to have the heat on in the winter to prevent pipe bursting), the grass is still cut in the summer. Yes, we may save a little bit but the outcomes does not justify the damage to be done. Overcrowding will also become an issue and the attention children receive. If your school closes or is consolidated, I hope you have a smart kid otherwise it will be difficult for them to receive the help they need. Have you ever tried to not only ensure the safety of 30 kids by yourself, but in addition try to teach them as well? Most of you have never been in that situation so let me tell you, you would not last nor would your message be successful. Just a thought...

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Caesar_Augustus 3 years, 6 months ago

"...some children will be forced to ride the bus over an hour each way to school, which is ludicrous."

How is that ludicrous? I rode the bus for 65 minutes to school every day and 85 minutes home from school every day from 5th through 10th grade. Gave me plenty of time to read, work on homework and socialize with friends. I see no problem in having your kids on the bus for an hour or more every day.

In reading the rest of your post, all I can say is this: The sky is not falling. Stop with the doom and gloom and be thankful we have the education system we do.

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Cogito_Ergo_Es 3 years, 6 months ago

It is ludicrous to be bussed an ADDITIONAL 40 minutes each way every day. Some kids get car sick and can't read. How legible were your homework assignments when you were completing them bumping down gravel roads? And 5th-10th grade? Pardon me if I am not impressed. Yes, our Jr. High and High School students are already bussed into town, they are older and more tolerant of it. But I can tell you they are not getting their homework done, they are texting each other and listening to I-pods. Nor are they getting any exercise (heard of the childhood obesity problem?), or spending time on extracurricular activities or time with families. But, these are little children we are talking about. Have you ever been a 7 year old needing the bathroom and been told you had to wait another half hour or more? For all their talk of equity they clearly only meant the children within the city limits of Lawrence. Those children outside have been cut loose and are considered an acceptable loss.They are being asked to drive right by their current school to go an additional 6 miles east. Would it be ok if they bussed your kids 6 miles east, the complete opposite side of town? The other schools they are talking about closing are all within a few blocks of each other. This is about as unequitable as it gets. And don't even get me started on the idiot that said if we want a nearby school, we should move to town! Next he'll be telling me what kind of car to drive, when I'm doing all this extra driving around to my child's new school!

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kjh 3 years, 6 months ago

And I'm sure you somehow also walked 5 miles uphill in the snow each way. My kids ride the bus currently - not exactly the most conducive environment for "reading, doing homework". Socializing maybe. It is not doom and gloom. It is real concern for real children and the quality of their education. And it is a certain school, or schools, who have less say in that than others. Frankly more people should be angry about this, and when they see what is really going to happen and how many schools it will affect negatively, they will be. Unfortunately it will likely come after some board members "retire", some already get re-elected, and Dr. Doll's contract gets renewed.

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monheim 3 years, 6 months ago

And where exactly was this that you rode the bus so long to and from school? Rural or urban? (come on, be honest).

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Caesar_Augustus 3 years, 6 months ago

Rural, but so what?? Riding a bus is riding a bus, and it is/was very easy to read a book on the bus. Today, kids can play with their DS, ipod, cell phone, read a book, talk to kids, whatever. It's called socializing and is not a bad thing by any means. Chances are they would just be at home, plopped in front of a TV anyway. Riding a school bus for a longer period of time has nothing, ZERO ZILCH, NADA to do with the quality of an education that kids receive, so please, stop with that lame argument. I never had to walk uphill 5 miles in the snow, but I did sit in a 3 walled lean-to at the end of our long driveway in all kinds of inclement weather and was none the worse for wear. Kids today have it EASY and parents seem to promote this sissification of our kids.

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GMom05 3 years, 6 months ago

I assume you never had piano lessons or soccer practice to go to either. Go back to your time period Caesar. We are trying to educate our children in many ways so they can be productive citizens in a global economy. It's called progress. Why should our children be denied the luxury of quality time to do anything but ride around on a bus? Perhaps we feel it is a waste of time, better spent not in front of the TV, (we don't even have cable), but to play outside, go to lessons, be with family and friends, do chores, or not stay up until all hours trying to fit homework in. It's not about the ride per se, but what else can be done during that time and your presumption that we'd just waste it anyway is insulting. It is about quality of life. Maybe you didn't have anything better to do with your childhood, but our kids do. And there is no equity in denying our children the same privileges the rest of the Lawrence city kids get.

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love2fish_ks 3 years, 6 months ago

"...some children will be forced to ride the bus over an hour each way to school, which is ludicrous."

Why is it a given that kids are 'forced to ride the bus'. Kids don't have to ride the bus. There are other options than depending on someone else.

Schools complain that there is a lack of parental responsibility then go about creating processes to absolve parents of their responsibility. It is the job of the parents to get kids to school.

When I was a grade schooler we could not ride the bus. We moved to be closer to school and we walked. Wasn't fun but we did it. And we weren't fat that's for sure. Dirt poor. No fun living in a 2 bedroom house with 7 kids. But we made do and I'm better for it today. Time to end the cycle of dependency that continues to hold people down. It never does some one a favor to provide for them, makes them dependent.

If the schools stop trying to do all things for all people and focus on educaiton we would be better. Some people need to be pushed before they start fending for themselves but that isn't all bad. Remember welfare reform in the 90's? It was going to be the scourge to poor folk. Didn't happen. Instead it helped millions get back to work and be productive.

What's next, a bus worker union?

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lawslady 3 years, 6 months ago

Amen. I NEVER rode a bus, and rarely got a car ride to school either. Grade school was "only" 1.5 miles away, and I walked it (with other neighbor kids). Changed to another school in 4th grade, and it was "only" 2.5 miles away. Walked that too, this time with siblings. We got our exercise (and yes, we had to walk on/past/over busy city roads - in Wichita). I still remember huddling behind buildings to warm up, as we made the trek during snow storms! I know the "old ways" are not always better. However, walking to and from school is not a death sentence! And if we do not want to go bankrupt (in every sense of that word) we cannot continue the trend towards spending more money than we make (as an individual, family, city, state, country, world) it behooves us to come up with ways to do things that are less costly.

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Cogito_Ergo_Es 3 years, 6 months ago

We are talking about children that live between and 6 and 20 miles from the new proposed school people! Get Real!!! School would be over before they got there or would you have them start out about midnight?

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love2fish_ks 3 years, 6 months ago

"Get Real" "6 - 20 miles"

That's the point. Things don't have to stay the same. If parents want to live 6-20 miles form school that is their business. Not everyone else's job to make life grand for their decisions. They can take their kids to school. OR they can move. Just as we did. We didn't move because the bus quit running. We moved because the school didn't want us on the bus. It was ugly in those days and I'm glad they are behind us. We were forced to move and because we were poor as Job we had a house full. We made do.

We are all full of ourselves aren't we. How silly to think people can make whatever decision they want, like live 6-20 miles from school, and it is someone elses job to make sure our kids get to school.

We need a healthy dose of independence and standing on your own two feet. Nothing wrong will pulling yourself up by your own boot straps. We do no one a favor by making a dependent.

The very primse that it is the job of the school to get kids to school or evil will befall is just plain ole nonsense.

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GMom05 3 years, 6 months ago

Sure I could drive my kids to school, but what about the precious Carbon Footprint Minder is always talking about? And I'm sorry when I moved here to be by family 10 years ago I purchased a house within view of a school. A school I expected to be here. How do you propose I 'just move' into town? How can I possibly sell my house in this economy? Or do you presume to think that you are poorer than anyone else right now? Do you think I can afford two mortgages? Again I say, be rational, nothing is as simple as that. These are their rules by the way. I didn't demand it. Though it is mighty convenient so I can get to the first of my two jobs on time (you know pulling myself up by my bootstraps) They said if you are more than 2.5 miles from the school (or 6 or 20) we will bus you. Children all over Kansas are bussed to school. But the children of rural Douglas County and USD497 are not entitled to the same consideration? And why did you even bring that point up? They never said they'd stop bussing us, (not yet). The only one being nonsensical is you.

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commuter 3 years, 6 months ago

shygal83- the school my kids initially went to here in Lawrence closed. They received more and a variety of instruction in their new school. Because they started in a small school, their options were limited with teachers & teaching methods, their larger school allowed us more options & we exercised those.

Kids adapt, parents don't.

If you want to save your small school, ask the school board how much additional money would it take to keep it open and pay for it yourself.

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alm77 3 years, 6 months ago

"pay for it yourself." We'd LOVE to!! But we can't. It's illegal!!

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"The district would propose financing the work with a bond issue that also would include improvements at remaining elementary schools, all without increasing the district’s current property tax rate."

Simply because existing bonds may be retired is that any reason to acquire new debt simply because we can?

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lawrencedad 3 years, 6 months ago

You have to create the over crowding and poor conditions, then everyone will be begging for a bond to pass. So it costs kids a couple of years of good education, who cares -OBVIOUSLY not the BOE. Actually I haven't seen the current board do anything to better the education of Lawrence children

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ResQd 3 years, 6 months ago

You hit it on the nail! The school board does this crap every couple of years to get all the parents in a "tizzy", to vote for a new bond issue. Give me a break! I am so fed up with the school board wanting more tax money. Start taking it out of the administrators funding.

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FormerTiger 3 years, 6 months ago

More of the same - backroom deals and bringing out "additional" information at the last minute. Not to mention not using established criteria to make decisions and letting a process (or lack of one) go awry. Remember this when you go to the polls.

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Amy Heeter 3 years, 6 months ago

For two men who were dedicated to saving our schools Morgan and Minder sure keep closing them.

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Clevercowgirl 3 years, 6 months ago

Morgan, not at all, Minder, only certain schools.

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Fixed_Asset 3 years, 6 months ago

You have absolutely no clue what you are talking about here.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Morgan,Loveland and Bradford are on the same page it seems to me.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

USD 497 budgets $4,000,000 - $4,500,000 to bus the students. This is getting close, if my memory serves me well, to what it costs to run the T during a 12 month period 6 days a week and about 14 hours a day.

Now I wonder if this service is put out for bid?

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Kelly Johnson 3 years, 6 months ago

That's INSANE. They're paying 4 1/2 million dollars to bus students, when probably 90% of USD 497 students don't even ride the bus? And the ones that do pay hundreds of dollars for it?

Can you provide a link for me to find this info? Thanks.

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alm77 3 years, 6 months ago

When can we start reading about next year's school board candidates?

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IBike100 3 years, 6 months ago

Oh yeah, let's close and consolidate elementary schools in order to fund the high school stadiums and playing fields. How ironic that the community has had no input on either the two high school stadiums or the elementary school closings and consolidations. I will not support one more dime going to a bond issue. The money spent on these two stadiums and fields could support building projects for years to come. Lawrence taxpayers need to take a stand!

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BigPrune 3 years, 6 months ago

You would've thought that when the assessments of our schools were going on before the $56 Million bond passed, that Lawrence's population stagnation would have been figured, especially for children grade school aged. It wasn't hard to figure out back then. Why is it now being addressed just a few years later, when it should've been done then?

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

That is a good question in a variety of places.

We seem to be quite bad at anything beyond immediate planning for the very short term.

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Take_a_letter_Maria 3 years, 6 months ago

I get the feeling that people just look past the word consolidation and don't really give it a second glance, especially when you read about a school being recommended for closure. You could easily say Wak Valley is being consolidated into Sunflower and Broken Arrow schools, or that 4 of 6 other schools will be closed and their populations combined. Either way it is the same thing. More than just Wak Valley will be CLOSED within the next five years if the task forces recommendations are followed. Don't let them gloss it over with CONSOLIDATION.

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justforfun 3 years, 6 months ago

Dust off the "save our schools" signs!!!!

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SynjynSmythe 3 years, 6 months ago

Negative. The proposal was submitted by Jessica Beeson/SONS, and SONS supporters on the taskforce voted with her in lock-step.

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LeBo 3 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like someone will be getting a kickback to build a new school! How does it make sense to build schools to chase a rentor/transit populus. Hillcrest is a viborant school with generations of community support. I do not like to move to large primary schools.

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sallyone 3 years, 6 months ago

Last I checked it was illegal to let kids stick there hands outside of the school bus. I know a person who received a horrific injury from doing that.

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BadAssterson 3 years, 6 months ago

Scrap the library project and move the funds whre they are more immediately needed.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Would parents be willing to accept more of the transportation responsibility if the costs could be reduced by $4 million?

This could likely keep schools open and save taxpayers from a bond issue?

Car pooling etc etc

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Cogito_Ergo_Es 3 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately the transportation issue is not going to affect things much one way or the other. The bus routes are a flat rate whether they go 3 miles or 6. The only cost increase or savings will be through the addition or elimination of entire routes. These closures/consolidations will have miminal impact on the number of routes. Once a child is on a bus it doesn't matter which direction he goes. But even at that, to add one route costs 30K. NO where near the multi million dollar shortfall.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"Dust off the "save our schools" signs!!!!"

Never took ours from the ground because we KNEW this situation would be back in short order. Some on the board and who knows who else have been trying to pull this off since 2003.

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stedman15 3 years, 6 months ago

It always surprises me that people think they can rally together with a bunch of "Save Our Schools" signs to prevent the closures, and then the issues will be sorted out magically.

The reasons schools are closing is because it costs money to run them, and no one wants to pay anything extra in taxes to make it happen. True, it will cost some money to build the new "superschools", but in the long run, it saves money because it is cheaper to run 2 schools than 4.

If you want to "save schools", put the signs away, and allow taxes to be increased. Allow more development in the city. Elect people who will have a better vision for the city's future. Work to expand the number of professional jobs in the city so that people don't have to commute to Kansas City and Topeka or work in the service and retail industries.

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alm77 3 years, 6 months ago

Raising taxes will be imperative to anyone who wants to keep the schools open, you have that right. But it's my understanding that needs to be done at the state level and can't be done locally. I believe we've tapped out all of our local resources (by reaching the legal max).

Part of the problem is that the school board isn't looking at ways to reallocate the funds they can or looking for other ways to cut the budget. Mega-mentaries are the end goal and it appears to me that they are doing everything they can to head that way regardless of whether it's necessary or not.

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stedman15 3 years, 6 months ago

I agree fully that the taxes need to be raised at the state level, and cannot be done locally (save for sales tax). My views on taxes apply to everyone in Kansas. We want more services, but we don't want to (or can't) pay for them. Like in real life, when such an issue arises, you either reallocate resources or find a way to get more resources. The school board is doing neither here.

Part of the change this town needs is to elect people who have vision to all facets of government. The school board is no exception. Creating mega-elementaries is a pure budgetary move, which will have deleterious consequences for all of us here. The impetus for this action began years ago, when the powers that be chose to go the easy route and expand the status quo, rather than try to grow Lawrence as a viable alternative to Kansas City and Topeka.

Now we're all paying the price.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

It was my understanding from the BOE last week that the cost of bus transportation is based on a daily rate depending on how many students use the bus any given day.

USD 497 never knows exactly how much the cost will be nor how many students may or may not use the system. In spite of this it was also my understanding that USD 497 budgets $4 million to $4.5 million to cover that expense according to BOE and USD 497 officials. To be exact one BOE member suggested" $4 million plus some change". According to USD 497 staff that "change" could be up to $500,000.

Parents might be able to reduce this cost substantially by securing other means of transportation. This is a matter that deserves study. I'm looking at a handout that suggests 199 elementary school riders. What is missing is the number of Jr High and High School riders.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"it saves money because it is cheaper to run 2 schools than 4." We do not know this for sure. Mostly speculation at this point.

What's going to happen if it doesn't save money?

How much could be added to the cost of bus transportation?

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GardenMomma 3 years, 6 months ago

Did you read any of the task force's reports? It is more cost efficient to have a bigger school than to have more smaller schools.

There are certain fixed costs associated with a school regardless of enrollment size. Suppose fixed costs are $100,000. Does it make more sense to spread those costs out over 450 students or 250 students?

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EarthaKitt 3 years, 6 months ago

To that I say, Garden Momma, do your flowers grow better when they are crammed together in the soil and forced to fight for sun and water? Or do they do better with a little space to breathe and plenty of the things they need? I would happily spend the extra money to get quality over quantity.

And to end the metaphor - we're not talking about flowers. We're talking about kids!!!

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GardenMomma 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, first let me say that I am all for smaller schools. I would prefer smaller schools where the kids all know each other and there is a better chance that everyone is in a class with their friends and have access to quality teachers and educational opportunities.

My point is, that whether you have four classes of 25 students in two schools or one school, it will always be more cost efficient to have one larger school versus two smaller schools.

To continue with the garden analogy, I wouldn't cram all my flowers into one small garden, but have a larger garden where they can stretch and bloom and grow.

And, by the way, just because something is more cost efficient, does not mean that it is a best practice. I did take the time to read the task force's reports. The fact of the matter is that bigger schools with more sections are more cost efficient. However, what needs to happen is looking beyond mere cost efficiency.

I think everyone on that task force would rather keep the status quo and not close any school, not consolidate any school. However, that just cannot happen. It's sad and it's angering.

The fact of the matter is that the school board will need to cut $3 million next year. Last year they cut $4 million without closing any schools. Instead they cut positions and curriculum, and there isn't much more of that to cut without severely affecting the quality of education our children are receiving.

It is a shame that politics has to come into play but it has and it will continue to do so. I think if someone who didn't know anything about the schools but the bare numbers were to look at the list of 15 elementary schools, different schools would be on the list for possible closure/consolidation.

The task force needs to make a recommendation. If they choose to recommend the status quo, the school board will make their own decision. At least this way, there is some thought and method into choosing what happens.

I don't necessarily agree with the recommendation to close Wakaursa Valley, I think there were other schools that were better candidates. I think some schools think they deserve "protection" or think they should be considered "untouchable" and that too, is a shame.

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Lori Nation 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow the board members always seem to find reasons to amaze me. For a family looking to move to Lawrence I would tell them stay far away move to Eudora they have a system that seems to work!!!

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ranger73 3 years, 6 months ago

I for one would be more than willing to take 3 mil from the parking garage I mean library thing and use it for the schools. It would be a better use of funds anyway. And yes I know it doesn't work that way and that money for the parking garage I mean library can't go to anything else useful. Just thinking out loud.

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gr 3 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like someone just wanted a new school.

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GMom05 3 years, 6 months ago

That would be a nice feather in said someone's cap!

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brutus 3 years, 6 months ago

The rest of the state elected Brownback governor. There will be less and less money to run schools. Building and fixing them comes from local property taxes, running them comes from the state. Get used to it, it is going to get worse before it gets better.

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Kristine Bailey 3 years, 6 months ago

Water meter restrictions by the City of Lawrence, for 15 years, killed Wakarusa Valley School.

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Kelly Johnson 3 years, 6 months ago

Closing Wakarusa Valley is a big mistake. $500,000 to run it but $500,000 is considered small change when it comes to transportation that isn't even used by a majority of USD497 students? Wow.

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weeslicket 3 years, 6 months ago

if you close/consolidate schools, you can "save" some money on personnel. not much money though. of course you still have to maintain those building. and pay for the accomodating changes in delivery of instruction. (that must mosta certainly be a money saver)

as mary loveland and scott morgan have shown us, there is plenty of money for "capital outlay." never mind the neighborhoods they don't live in. at least you know that solves the "bricks and mortar' problems. plenty of money for purchases of construction. schools need upgrades. yep. we have money for that. purchase property to buy a school that isn't already built, and paid for. yep. we gots money for that. (unless we spend that money on ballfields)

the stick in the mud is how you staff those schools. nope. no money for that, no matter how much you shake the tree for fruits. nope. no money for teaching and learning. nope. definitely not that.

also: dr. doll has already publicly stated that he intends to use these "savings" to staff his administrative offices. --hey ljworld. why no reporting on dr. doll's public statements??

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