Plans to close Wakarusa Valley School will be up for discussion in two weeks and then up for formal public comment March 28, members of the Lawrence school board decided Monday night.
On a 5-2 vote, the board set a formal process for considering a recommendation from the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force to close Wakarusa Valley, 1104 E. 1000 Road, southeast of Clinton Lake.
And while board members Bob Byers and Marlene Merrill sought to slow closure proceedings, the rest of the board decided that at least laying the groundwork for making a decision as soon as possible would be the best approach.
“People need to be on notice that this is a possibility,” said Scott Morgan, a board member and co-chairman of the task force. “If we end up closing this or any school, the earlier we do it the better.”
Merrill, for her part, said she still had issues that she’d like to consider more carefully. Among them: whether Wakarusa Valley or some other school should close.
Task force members had considered three schools — Cordley, Pinckney and Wakarusa Valley — as candidates for closure next year, before settling on Wakarusa Valley. They also recommended consolidating six schools into either four or three schools within three to five years.
The board also should propose a bond issue that would address needs in elementary schools, the task force recommended.
The board plans to discuss the recommendations March 14, then conduct a formal public hearing March 28. If approved as proposed, Wakarusa Valley would close at the end of this school year.
In other action Monday, board members:
• Formalized acceptance of an earlier $529,546 donation from an anonymous donor toward construction of a $1.05 million project for concessions and restrooms at Free State High School.
• Hired B.A. Green Construction, for $34,359, to remodel a room at Lawrence High School for architecture, newspaper and small-engine classes.