Members of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group are set to gather Wednesday evening for the first of 11 scheduled meetings to come up with a plan for closing some schools, upgrading others and otherwise compiling a long-term plan to guide the Lawrence school district’s K-5 education for years to come.
Rick Ingram, for one, hopes they can get the job done.
“I hope that whatever they do reflects a true consensus,” said Ingram, a member of the Lawrence school board, which is scheduled to receive the group’s recommendations in February. “If everybody feels good about the recommendations, then I’ll feel good about them.”
Working to achieve consensus will be more than two dozen volunteers with plenty at stake.
The 27-member group is instructed to propose a plan to consolidate the district’s 14 remaining elementary schools into a list of 11 or 12 within the next two or three years, as recommended earlier this year by another volunteer group — the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force — and endorsed unanimously by the school board.
The group includes 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. Teachers from each school are serving as ex-officio members, to serve as advisers.
Two administrators from Kansas University — Marilu Goodyear, director of KU’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, and Kathleen, learning and development manager for KU’s Department of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity — will serve as co-facilitators for the group.
Wednesday’s meeting is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. The agenda calls for “brainstorming” and setting ground rules for interaction.
“We’re anxious to get going,” said Rick Doll, district superintendent.
The meeting is open to the public, although discussion is limited to members of the task force, their advisers and other district personnel.