First Bell: Lawrence district to conduct telephone survey

• The Lawrence school district will conduct a public opinion poll starting Wednesday to gather opinions and feedback on a wide range of issues. But one issue of particular importance is the district’s plan for a bond issue this spring.

“This survey will give us the opportunity to hear from a cross-section of our patrons from all geographic parts of the district, people of different ages and everyone from newcomers to long-term residents,” said Superintendent Rick Doll. “The school board will be able to consider this information, along with the input collected through our comprehensive facilities evaluation, technology audit, staff focus groups, teacher surveys and community input sessions, as it finalizes plans for a spring bond issue.”

The telephone survey will be conducted from Nov. 14 through Dec. 3 and will reach out to people with both land lines and cell phones, district officials said. It will include responses from 400 randomly-selected households whose telephone billing addresses are within the boundaries of USD 497.

Officials say the calls will generally be placed between 7 and 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. on weekends. The caller ID may show up as “Market Research Associates,” the firm on contract to conduct the phone interviews. It may also show with either an 816 or 913 area code, representing calling facilities in Kansas and Missouri.

The Lawrence school district will ask voters on April 2, 2013, to approve a bond issue to improve school facilities, enhance technology and expand career and technical education opportunities for students.

“We want to hear from you, so if you get a phone call as part of this survey, please participate,” Doll in a news release distributed Friday. “In keeping with the board’s Excellence, Equity, and particularly, our Engagement goal, we are asking patrons to let us know what they think and help us shape a community plan for the future of our schools.”

• Meetings and events coming up this week that are worth noting:

The Lawrence school board meets at 7 p.m. tonight at the district office, 110 McDonald Dr. You can view the online agenda here.

The Kansas State Board of Education meets Tuesday and Wednesday with a host of issues on the table. Here’s a link to their agenda and meeting materials.

And on Friday, Nov. 16, at least as far as we’ve heard, the second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards is supposed to be posted online. Take a peek at what they have planned for changing the way science is taught at all grade levels, and offer your comments if you have any.

• If you have news you’d like to share about school-related events you’d like to share, call me at 832-7259, or email