The state’s largest virtual school will start the new year with a new leader and in a new home.
The Lawrence Virtual School is moving from its original site inside the former Centennial School to one set to become available next week: Wakarusa Valley School, which is closing after 50 years in service.
With the virtual school relocated, district officials will be able to see that several related services can be consolidated under one roof at the former Centennial building, 2145 La.:
- The Diploma Completion Program, which has been operated on a contract basis in rented space in The Malls Shopping Center, at 23rd and Louisiana streets.
- The district’s Adult Education Program, which has handled general equivalency diplomas from the annex at Lawrence High School.
- Johnson County Community College will be able to continue offering classes at the Centennial site.
Together, the three programs will provide something of a “one-stop shop” for related educational services, said Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer. The goal is for such proximity to be beneficial for users.
The moves — the programs into Centennial, and the virtual school into the Wakarusa Valley building — will permit the properties to remain in use but financed using money that is not in the district’s general fund.
By relying on other funds, he said, the district can realize the savings it needs to protect basic education. Closing Wakarusa Valley, 1104 E. 1000 Road, as an elementary school will be expected to save $487,000 next year, to help offset a $3 million loss in base state aid from the state of Kansas.
The virtual school will enter the 2011-12 school year with a new principal: G. Keith Wilson, a former principal in Wichita who is taking over for Gary Lewis, who had led the virtual school since 2004 and announced in March that would be taking a job in Maize.