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Archive for Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Bell: Consultants to help Consolidation Working Group; principals keep tabs on process as they ‘multitask’

September 20, 2011

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Volunteers are doing all the decision-making work as members of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group, but paid consultants will be helping provide support for their deliberations.

The group’s 26 voting members, plus a chairman and seven nonvoting advisers, all are participating at the request of the Lawrence school district and its elected members of the Lawrence school board. All are volunteers, charged with determining the best way to trim a list of six elementary schools — Cordley, Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney and Sunset Hill — into three or four within the next two to three years.

Monday night, Superintendent Rick Doll informed group members that the district would be hiring RSP & Associates, a group from the Kansas City area, to provide detailed, accurate information about where students live in relation to school locations, and to provide projections about future enrollment and how boundary changes might affect schools.

The firm also will provide detailed demographic information about students, to assist working group members as they weigh effects on students who receive free or reduced-price lunches, who take part in English as a Second Language programs, or who are members of other categories deemed significant during discussions.

“We’re going to have some very clear data,” Doll said, after Monday night’s meeting. “It’s very important to have objective data. People talk about credibility and transparency. This is a way to make sure that any (potential, or eventual) boundary changes are credible and transparent.”

No formal agreement has been worked out yet, Doll said, so the final cost of the services has not yet been determined. RSP & Associates had performed such duties for the district until cut from the budget a couple years ago.

•••

Principals were among folks in the audience for the Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 meeting of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group. In the front row with her head down was Nancy DeGarmo, principal of New York School, working her iPad. In the back row, to the side of Lawrence school board members Keith Diaz Moore and Rick Ingram, were Principals Cris Anderson, of Kennedy School; Jeanne Fridell, of Woodlawn School; Lesa Frantz, of Pinckney School; and Tammy Becker, of Hillcrest School. Chris Bay, principal of Sunset Hill School, didn't make the picture, as he was sitting off to the side.

Principals were among folks in the audience for the Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 meeting of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group. In the front row with her head down was Nancy DeGarmo, principal of New York School, working her iPad. In the back row, to the side of Lawrence school board members Keith Diaz Moore and Rick Ingram, were Principals Cris Anderson, of Kennedy School; Jeanne Fridell, of Woodlawn School; Lesa Frantz, of Pinckney School; and Tammy Becker, of Hillcrest School. Chris Bay, principal of Sunset Hill School, didn't make the picture, as he was sitting off to the side.

Meetings of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group always attract an audience, and Monday night’s included several district employees with plenty of interest in the proceedings.

Among the attendees were principals for elementary schools being considered for consolidation:

• Cris Anderson, of Kennedy.

• Chris Bay, of Sunset Hill.

• Tammy Becker, of Hillcrest.

• Nancy DeGarmo, of New York.

• Lesa Frantz, of Pinckney.

Also in the audience was Jeanne Fridell, principal of Woodlawn, a school that is not up for consolidation but has representatives on the working group.

•••

Another note about the principals in the audience: While members of the working group discussed their processes for approaching consolidation issues, the principals were busy working on their laptops, iPads and other electronic devices.

Turns out two hours on wireless at district headquarters is a bit of a breather.

“During the day, if you’re going to be accessible to students, teachers and parents, there has to be another time to get to the hundreds of emails, and that usually happens after hours,” said Chris Bay, churning through his inbox as members of the working group mulled the important characteristics and qualities of a good elementary school. “We can multitask. We can listen and answer some emails.”

Comments

Kookamooka 3 years, 3 months ago

Consultants are a luxury. Where are they coming up with the funding for this?

Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

How will throwing more tax dollars at Charter/private schools improve a situation? It will not. Neither will constructing more buildings. Lawrence,Kansas has plenty of school buildings let's use them.

This is more like pork barrel spending. If charter schools are so much better the question becomes what makes them better?

Liberal spending anti public school politicians have been demonizing the public school system for years now. Then they manage to cut spending year after year after year then come back and say over and over and over that public schools are not working.

Spending even more tax dollar money on Charter/Private schools cannot change anything because nothing has changed regarding the student base and the teaching pool. If more tax dollars are never the answer why consider moving to a more expensive system?

What did change? More tax dollars going into the bank accounts of private industry,their CEO's and shareholders. This is pork barrel spending not a better education system. What is the most reliable source of fraud? Politicians and their private industry supporters.

Aren't taxpayers getting duped by this concept?

lawrencejna 3 years, 3 months ago

This is absolute torture, wondering whether or not my child will be forced to leave the school and faculty that we all love. I felt the comment about principals on laptops was a little snide. Were these professionals supposed to sit riveted throughout the entire (seemingly pointless) meeting as opposed to taking care of the business of running their schools? I hope I misinterpreted the remark.

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