When it comes to the long-standing boundary separating Free State and Lawrence high schools, members of the Lawrence school board intend to start asking questions that someday could lead to answers.
Monday night, board members are scheduled to discuss several aspects of school attendance areas. Board members do not plan on making any changes to school boundaries or attendance areas or policies, but they had decided last year to at least talk about possibilities.
“It’s a way to get a discussion started,” said Rick Doll, district superintendent.
Monday’s talk then could help lead to further discussions later this summer, when members of school board will gather for a goal-setting session. In early July, four current board members — Mary Loveland, Marlene Merrill, Rich Minder and Scott Morgan — will be leaving the board, to be replaced by Rick Ingram, Shannon Kimball, Randy Masten and Keith Diaz Moore.
Remaining on the board will be Mark Bradford, Bob Byers and Vanessa Sanburn.
The “new” board will decide whether to pursue potential changes that have been brought up by the current board, including several regarding topics to be discussed Monday night:
• The 15th Street boundary that separates the two high schools. Board members have wondered whether the line remains an appropriate way to determine enrollment at the two schools, sending students who live north of 15th Street/Bob Billings Parkway to Free State and those who reside south to Lawrence High. Minder, board president, has discussed the option of giving all students a choice of where to attend, raising the possibility of schools offering different programs.
• Feeder schools. Currently, students are sent to particular schools based on where they live. Under feeder schools, all students attending a particular elementary school, for example, would then go to a specific middle school and, from there, to a particular high school. No longer would there be “splits” as students move up on school levels.
• Boundaries for elementary schools. The number of elementary schools is shrinking — the board just closed Wakarusa Valley School, and another two or three are envisioned to be “consolidated” during the next two to three years. Such moves would prompt changes in boundaries; the question would be how those should be handled.
Monday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. Among other items on the agenda:
• Approve an employment contract for Doll, extending his current two-year contract for another year, making it effective for 2011-13. Doll would be paid $153,011, equal to his current level.
• Consider agreeing to spend about $105,000 to buy about 200 new uniforms for the marching band at Free State, replacing uniforms that are now 14 years old.
• Approve the calendar for the 2012-13 school year.
• Receive a report on the district’s “Redesign for Student Success” program, which is making elementary schools for grades kindergarten through 5; turning junior highs into middle schools, for grades 6-8; and making high schools for grades 9 through 12.
• Approve plans for repavings at Lawrence High and Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, and several other items previously discussed and/or endorsed.