Archive for Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Bell: Sunset Hill students’ MLK ‘march’ to help homeless; district leaders wake up to oppose budget cuts; administrative titles grow

January 5, 2011


The upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is giving students throughout the United States an opportunity to learn about the slain civil rights leader.

In Lawrence, they’ll also get an early start following his ideals for helping people in need.

Students, staffers and families from Sunset Hill School plan to “march” at 10 a.m. Saturday from the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., to the Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th. Members of the community also are invited to participate, but school leaders ask that no pets be included.

All participants in the 0.4-mile march are asked to bring along at least one canned good, to be donated to the homeless shelter. Canned goods also may be delivered by Friday to the school, 901 Schwarz Road.


This morning over breakfast, leaders of Lawrence school district will be sharing their needs and hopes and fears for the coming legislative session with members of Douglas County’s legislative delegation.

The requests — no surprise here — all focus on money.

Of particular concern is avoiding further budget cuts. Administrators fear the district could be forced to cut more than $7 million, which would be equal to or more than the district already has been forced to cut during the past three years combined.

Especially problematic: if cuts in funding accompany requirements to take on additional responsibilities.

“Schools cannot afford to continue to do more and more with less and less,” the district says, in its Legislative Priorities Statement.

The breakfast is at 7:30 at Maceli’s, 1031 Vt. School board members Mark Bradford, Bob Byers, Mary Loveland, Marlene Merrill, Rich Minder and Scott Morgan and scheduled to attend, along with administrators Kim Bodensteiner, Julie Boyle, Rick Doll and Frank Harwood.


Speaking of doing more and more with less and less: Budget cuts in recent years have eliminated programs, teaching jobs, administrative positions and other expenses to match available revenues.

But the cuts have spurred growth in at least one category: job titles.

Here are three administrators who just may have the longest job titles I’ve ever seen, after a series of personnel changes and program realignments in the district during the past three years:

• Anne Hawks, curriculum specialist for science, PE, health, guidance, and career and technical education, agriculture and health science programs.

• Terry McEwen, division director for assessment, research, grants and school improvement.

• Ron May, curriculum specialist for social studies, career and technical education, juvenile detention center, suspension alternative program, and district hearing officer.

Here’s some homework for all you followers of First Bell: Send along some longer job titles at your place of employment.

After all I’m simply Mark Fagan, schools reporter. That’s not going to cut it.

— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open:


conservative 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe this year the district will finally make the cuts they should have years ago. Eliminate several of the smaller more expensive schools where we are paying staff for 1 classroom per grade level instead of 3 or 4 classes. The difference in cost per student at these schools is almost double what it is at the larger schools. There are also still lots of cuts that can be made in the administration payrolls.

ranger73 7 years, 3 months ago

So how is he being used to raise money? Did I miss something? Looks like they are learning about a civil rights leader and community service. "...Trained to revere him..." really? Just wondering how a "march" from the library to the shelter is training to revere him. I would think Dr. King would be more worried about school officials who don't have any money in the budget discussing ways to get more money over a catered breakfast (which of course is probably in the budget-because they need those breakfast meetings)

conservative 7 years, 3 months ago

My kids are straight A students. And doing it at one of the evil huge grade schools educating kids for !round 2000 per pupil instead of 4000. However if the district doesn't cut the idea of needing to keep every outdated and undersized school open they will have to raise class sizes, fire teachers, and cut programs and continue to raise mill levy rates.

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