Whether the Lawrence school board is following its own policy for renaming the Lawrence school district’s four junior high schools looks to be a matter of interpretation.
Mostly because there isn’t a specific policy for such matters.
“We’re following the spirit of the policy,” said Rick Doll, district superintendent, citing established rules for naming new schools. “The policy was written to name new buildings, when buildings open up.”
• Thursday night, board members agreed that the four schools — Central, South, Southwest and West junior high schools — would close June 30 and then reopen as middle schools July 1. The idea was to close and reopen, to ease compliance with state regulations.
• Also Thursday, board members voted to seek new names for the schools — or, at least, to give people a chance to suggest names for consideration, including the current ones. The vote was 4-3, with members Mary Loveland, Marlene Merrill, Rich Minder and Vanessa Sanburn looking forward to the renaming process.
• Board members learned that they would need to approve the formation of naming committees for each school. Nominees for the committees are to be recommended to board members at their next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.
Board policy for naming schools calls for the board to appoint each committee “at least six months prior to the opening of a new building.” Such committees are “to research appropriate name options and to solicit public input and suggestions.”
Six months from Monday would be July 24, leaving the board more than three weeks short of complying with the policy standard.
Not that the timing really matters, anyway.
Administrators expect the naming committees to be formed Monday and then make their recommendations to the board sometime around spring break.
And it is the board, after all, that ultimately must make any decisions about the names of schools.
“The board has the final say,” said Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer.
The district’s Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force is moving ever closer to finishing its work.
If you’d like to catch up on what’s happened so far — or want to check up on some of the information guiding the group’s decisionmaking on future matters — stop by the district’s website. There, you will find a dedicated section for task force materials and background.
If you’re looking to enter races for area school boards, there’s still time.
The deadline is noon Jan. 25, in the clerk’s office at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.
So far two candidates have filed to seek four seats up for election April 5 on the Lawrence school board: Marlene Merrill and Shannon Kimball.
The filing fee is $5.
For more information, visit the elections page on the county’s website.
— The First Bell e-mailbox is always open: firstname.lastname@example.org.