School board hears cases for new learning standards, bond issue

Kansas kids will get a whole new approach to learning — one that’s much more skill-based rather than content-based — starting in fall 2014. The new learning standards will encourage collaboration between students and teachers and will focus on depth rather than breadth of knowledge. That’s according to Adam Holden, assistant superintendant, during his presentation on the Common Core curriculum during the Lawrence school board’s Monday night meeting.

A representative from the district’s bond advisers also presented to the board, reiterating the district’s belief in its financial ability to take on an April bond issue election. David Arteberry, senior vice president of George K. Baum & Co., gave proposed timelines for election preparation. The first option would be used if the district plans a bond issue that doesn’t go over the state-mandated cap of 14 percent debt-to-assessed valuation — if the bond issue were less than about $94 million. The board would have to approve a ballot measure by Feb. 11 under that plan. If the board wanted to issue more money in bonds, it would need to go to the state board of education, pushing up planning to early November. The board accepted the report but took no action on Monday.

The board did approve creation of a new position of assistant director of curriculum and instruction. Holden said that it was not a net gain of a job, but a merging of two existing ones. Angelique Kobler, division director of instruction, will replace retiring Lucy Haines Dechairo as division director of curriculum, now division director of curriculum and instruction. Sarah Oatsvall will become an interim assistant director.

The board also proclaimed the week of Oct. 22 will be “Farm to School Week.”

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at the district office, 110 McDonald Drive.