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Archive for Friday, October 21, 2011

Lawrence school board to answer consolidation questions Monday

October 21, 2011

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Members of the Lawrence school board will get a chance Monday to “affirm, change or cancel the charge” of its volunteer advisory group assigned to recommend a plan for closing two or three elementary schools during the next two to three years.

During their regular meeting at 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive, board members will field questions posed by representatives from the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group.

Group members want clarification on three items:

• Whether they must come up with two plans for consolidating schools: one that would assume passage of a bond issue to finance school upgrades, expansions and possible new construction, and another that would assume rejection of a bond issue.

• Whether the group’s directions should change, given adjustments to data regarding school capacities and an overall increase in district enrollment this year.

• Whether the group may consider “creative ideas,” such as magnet or theme-based schools in their deliberations.

In a memo to board members, Superintendent Rick Doll said that the district’s administration continues to support work of the group, which is made up of community representatives from the six schools considered candidates for consolidation — Cordley, Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney and Sunset Hill — plus Woodlawn. Doll considers it “a unique opportunity to provide a community vision for the future of elementary schools” in central and eastern Lawrence.

His recommendation: “The board could choose to affirm, change or cancel the charge” of the group.

Among other items on the board agenda for Monday:

• Meet at 5:50 p.m. to discuss programs and services for special education.

• Recess into executive session, at 6:45 p.m., to “discuss matters affecting a student.”

• Reconvene at 7 p.m. to honor National Merit semifinalists and a National Achievement Program semifinalist, receive financial reports, approve contracts, receive an update on elementary math programs and select delegates to the annual convention of the Kansas Association of School Boards.

Comments

Kookamooka 2 years, 5 months ago

It seems the previous board and current administration voted to absolutely consolidate the schools last year. With almost all schools at capacity, how did they think this could happen WITHOUT the passage of a bond issue to build their Megamentary? It was as if they put the cart way out in front of the horses.

The charge has to be changed so the consolidation task force can come up with plans B, C and D in the event the community doesn't support the bond issue.

It would seem the district is trying to borrow money from the municipality in the form of a bond AND if Brown backs' proposed school finance plan is adopted, the city can also raise our property tax rates to pay the schools.

The task force should ask a bond trader to come in and explain how the process of a municipal bond would affect the tax payers and the market. There are potential investors out there who look for top rated bonds to add to their institutional mutual fund portfolios. Who wins in that case?

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