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Archive for Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Board gives go-ahead to school improvement projects

February 28, 2012

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The Lawrence school board agreed to move forward with more than $750,000 worth of building improvements for elementary schools that had been earmarked for potential closure just a few months ago.

On Monday night, the board accepted a $3.65 million capital improvement plan, with many of the projects slated to begin this summer.

For the past six months, a community working group has been studying ways to consolidate six elementary schools — New York, Cordley, Kennedy, Pinckney, Sunset Hill and Hillcrest — down to three or four. The working group’s two recommendations — one that advised not closing any schools and another that maintained consolidating schools was a viable option but didn’t say which ones should close — were finalized Thursday.

Last year as talks of closing elementary schools were under way, the board pulled funding to fix Kennedy’s roof. That $600,000 expense was added back into the capital improvement plan the board approved Monday night. Also on the list were $20,000 for replacing flooring and another $30,000 for repairing pavement at Pinckney, $80,000 for replacing rooftop HVAC units at Sunset Hill and $25,000 for new cafeteria tables at Hillcrest.

Keeping funding for smaller elementary schools in the capital improvement plan was about the only indication school board members gave Monday night on where they stood on closing elementary schools.

Earlier in the evening, the board formally accepted the recommendations that came from the working groups, but they said little about the documents. Instead, two study sessions were set up.

The first study session, slated for 5:30 p.m. next Monday, would give board members a chance to ask questions about the recommendations and process. The second meeting, set for 4:30 p.m. March 12, would allow for the board to discuss the recommendations.

The topic isn’t likely to come to a regular board meeting, where votes can be cast, until April.

Board President Mark Bradford expressed appreciation for the efforts of the working group, even if members didn’t come with one cohesive plan.  

“It will make us a better district in the long run. We are still at the beginning of a lot of positive things to come in the future,” Bradford said.

Comments

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 10 months ago

As Reads:

The Lawrence school board agreed to move forward with more than $750,000 worth of building improvements for elementary schools that had been earmarked for potential closure just a few months ago. +++++++++++++++++++++++ Should Read:

Bend over taxpayer.

Mike Myers 2 years, 10 months ago

You have it wrong. This is fiscally responsible. The alternative is to close classrooms and build new ones down the street. Do you think the taxpayer is more likely to get behind fixing up the buildings we have or building new ones. Repair is statistically more palatable to the voter because it is more fiscally responsible and less divisive. You can't have it both ways.

Tracy Rogers 2 years, 10 months ago

Make up your mind. People bitch when they build more schools, and the bitch when they try to maintain the buildings. Give it a rest.

irvan moore 2 years, 10 months ago

i think that's good but these people have me so confused i can't really be sure

Getaroom 2 years, 10 months ago

Finally, the correct choice has been made. It is a painful and unfortunately sometimes futile process, trying to meet the demands of a Narcissistic and Dictatorial Governor, who values a personal political agenda over the good of the general population of his state. This is the right decision for Lawrence.

Brian Hall 2 years, 10 months ago

It's going to come down to the school that needs the most work will be the one to close or be consolidated with another school.

Mike Myers 2 years, 10 months ago

You give the current school board too little credit. This group is an educated and thoughtful group of people.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 months ago

Proceeding forward in this manner is far more responsible than bringing a bond issue up or increasing taxes.

As I see it USD 497 could apply about $6 million a year to the school rehab or shell out $17 million the same way USD 497 recklessly funded the PLAY athletics project..... just let taxpayers say yes with their votes this time.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 months ago

In essence our tax dollar investments aka schools become victims of demolition by neglect when taxpayer owned property does not receive the attention and care legally expected or required of the school district. The negligence throughout recent years can only be deemed as reckless.

Moreover it is the courage of some BOE members and the school consolidation working group to accept responsibility, thus stepping back, to review the fact that further school closings may not be the answer. Taxpayers should be thankful.

Abby Hess put forth the thinking that our school buildings took a back seat to the the $20 million USD 497 tax dollars spent on the PLAY sports project which could have rehabilitated all of our elementary school facilities. I concur.

Again in essence our tax dollar investments become victims of demolition by neglect when taxpayer owned property does not receive the attention and care legally expected or required of the school district.

There has been talk of building a large building at 15th and Haskell. Let’s be reminded that taxpaying stakeholders and the school district own the public school building that currently exists on that site.

For future reference we tax paying stakeholders might want to discover how many ways teaching salaries can be upgraded. Our hard working teaching staff deserve our attention and care.

Until Topeka,Kansas comes full circle to fund public education as required by state law we taxpaying stakeholders need to be frugal and fiscally responsible.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 months ago

Considering that too many elected officials own shares of stock in the medical insurance industry,the military industrial complex,the financial industry and the OIL INDUSTRY etc etc etc....

All raise their hands who believe that ethics and practical thinking will bring about the dramatic changes that we the people need to make economic growth and jobs available to the people of the USA once again..... instead of more BS.

kuguardgrl13 2 years, 9 months ago

Happy to see that USD 497 is finally coming around to repairing our existing buildings, but I don't like that closings are still being considered as a viable option. According to the KSDE K-12 reports on Lawrence, we've allowed five elementary schools to be closed in ten years (http://svapp15586.ksde.org/k12/organization.aspx?org_no=D0497). Prior to that, two more were closed in the 1990s. Seven schools in almost 21 years. SEVEN (not counting the alternative high school). And they talk about closing more and building new ones. If the district is sensible at all, they will use funding to repair our existing schools and rearrange boundaries to even out capacity.

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