Archive for Monday, May 2, 2011

Lawrence school district taking applications for positions on new consolidation working group

May 2, 2011


Rick Doll, superintendent of the Lawrence school district, is taking applications from folks looking to become at-large members of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group.

Applications to join the 27-member group are due at district headquarters by May 20 to give Doll time to appoint a diverse and representative collection of representatives ready to figure out how the district should consolidate its 14 remaining elementary schools into a list of 11 or 12 within the next two or three years.

The group will include members representing seven school communities — Cordley, Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney, Sunset Hill and Woodlawn — that either are being considered for consolidation or have been identified as being part of the process.

Members of the Lawrence school board expect to receive the working group’s findings in February.

“We’ll make sure that we have a nice balance,” Doll said, noting that the working group should provide balanced representation in terms of gender, race, socio-economic status and geography.

Applicants may download a copy of the form from the district’s website,

To qualify, applicants must be connected to one of seven schools involved in potential consolidation talks. Of the seven, only Woodlawn is not considered a consolidation candidate, but the school is being included to give its community a voice in the process.

Each school’s site council is charged with forwarding candidates to Doll for the working group. Schools other than Woodlawn each will have seven nominees, with Doll free to choose three; Woodlawn will nominate three, with Doll to choose one.

Then, Doll will select one each from among “at-large” applicants and others, at his discretion. He also will choose one person to serve as chair.

The working group will have one organizational meeting before June 30 and then plan to meet for two-hour public meetings twice a month, from August through January.

The format mirrors the work of the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force, whose recommendations led to the upcoming closure of Wakarusa Valley School and have prompted creation of the working group to study how — not whether — to consolidate.

“The charge is not to re-debate what the task force did,” Doll said.


justoneperson 7 years ago

Seemingly, in this arrangement, one person has a lot of power over the choices and composition of the working group

William Ed 7 years ago

If you have absolutely nothing to do with your life, then you can waste your time on another one of Doll's phony hand picked task forces. The Elementary School Task Force members found this out. After being conscientious for eight months, Morgan/Doll/Minder pulled the rug out from under them and revealed THEIR real plan. The Task Force had just been a hide behind the skirts charade. M/D/M already have their plan to build a non neighborhood mega (1000 kid) school on their 80 acre flood plain playground out east of town. They are deranged enough to think the sucker voters will give them $35 million through a bogus bond issue for an unwanted and unneeded building, which will raise everyone in the county's property taxes. When the voters realize they are being scammed AGAIN, that bond won't pass, and the new board can then get down to serious business, without the "help" of M/D/M.

Cogito_Ergo_Es 7 years ago

Absolutely. The first order of business needs to be to run Doll out of town on the next train. Then while the new board members are reversing the task force recommendation for consolidation, they can, while they are at it, reverse the decision to close Wakarusa Valley. If the task force recommendation is flawed, then the whole thing is flawed. If they are going to reverse that recommendation, then they need to reverse the entire thing, including the closure of Wak Valley. And don't tell me it's too late. Those families will go running back to their school, even if it's a few months into the next year. Everyone can see now that the task force was a sham through and through and we need to go back to where we were before MDM created this whole mess. Nice of Doll to give a nod to Vanessa S. and Woodlawn though, and to give a 'voice' in this consolidation process to the affected parties. Wakarusa sure didn't get any considerations like this. Just a shoulder shrug and a 'too bad, budget cuts, you know. Don't let the door know bang ya on your way out!' I'd like a 'voice' in the renewal of his majesty's contract next year...

honestone 7 years ago

Just like the last hand picked "task force/committee" they will give Doll; and his cronies the decision that has already been made. The plan for the mega school has been in the works for a very long time. The people of Lawrence will once again be screwed by USD 497's bad decision making and Loveland's grand plan.

justoneperson 7 years ago

I've frequently wondered why Loveland is still on the board? If I remember correctly, aren't her children out of college by now?

cato_the_elder 7 years ago

"Task forces" and "committees" like this are used by public entities everywhere to back-door gullible committee members into doing what the organizers of the committee have wanted from the start. It's especially prevalent in public education because school administrators are taught how to do it in schools of education. There has never been a USD 497 committee in the last three decades that has not ultimately reached "consensus" on recommendations that are carbon copies of what central office administrators and the board members who agree with them have wanted. Most of the members of such committees are parents of school-age children, and are naturally disposed to believe whatever the central office administrators and the few strategically picked, carefully planted committee members subtly persuade them that they should do. Those committee members who have the temerity to disagree are made irrelevant.

The elephant in the room in all of this is the fact that board members are supposed to be elected to make decisions, but don't have the guts to do so without the preordained results of a hand-picked "committee" or "task force" of some sort to back them up. Board members will always sell it as enhancing the "democratic process," despite the fact that that process has already occurred - the democratic process that got them elected. How refreshing it would be if even one new board member were to say, "I'm not going to take this any more," identify this charade for what it really is, and state that he or she, not a committee, was elected to make these decisions. Such courage might just open up the eyes of the public so that eventually this shameful practice is finally put to rest.

Clevercowgirl 7 years ago

It turns my stomach and fills me with disgust to see that another version of this travesty is being initiated.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

"To qualify, applicants must be connected to one of seven schools involved in potential consolidation talks. "

All taxpayers are stakeholders .... the bottom line.

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