Archive for Monday, January 13, 2014

Lawrence district cancels K12 Inc. contract

January 13, 2014


Education news
Have a story idea?
Contact Journal-World education reporter Elliot Hughes:

Lawrence school district Superintendent Rick Doll announced Monday that the district has taken the management of Lawrence Virtual High School over after the school posted a graduation rate last year of just 26.3 percent.

K12 Inc., the largest charter school company in the nation, will continue to be paid through the end of its contract, which expires June 30, but Doll said school district personnel have taken over operation of the school as of the start of the second semester. The school board will be asked to decide later this year whether to continue operating a virtual charter school.

"The reality is — and this isn't in any way an excuse for K12's management of that school, because that's not acceptable — but the kids who tend to enroll in a virtual high school tend to come on board and then they may not take courses for very long and they leave," Doll said after Monday night's school board meeting. "It's much more difficult to track them down. So that's part of our issue."

Doll made the announcement after the school board heard a report on the district's overall graduation rate for 2013, the first year that included a full, four-year, cohort group from the virtual high school.

Counting just the two "brick-and-mortar" high schools — Lawrence High School and Free State High School — the district's graduation rate would have been 90.9 percent, a few points higher than the statewide average, but the virtual high school's performance dragged the overall number down to 84.2 percent. Which is slightly below the statewide average of 86 percent.

District officials have said about 90 percent of the virtual high school's enrollment came from students outside Lawrence.

Lawrence also operates a virtual school for K-8 students, but that school has always been managed and staffed by the district. Both schools, however, use curriculum provided by K12 Inc.

The virtual high school had an enrollment last year of 292 students, including 34 seniors.


Devin Wilson 4 years, 3 months ago

Student raises hand... "Thank you for attending K12 Lawrence virtual school.Your question is important to us. Your question will be answered in the order it was received. Due to overwhelming call volume, your approximate wait time is... 48 hours" There is no substitute for human teachers and reasonable class sizes, in Kansas schools.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 3 months ago

But, how much money does the virtual school bring in? Does it cost less to teach a kid in that school? If so, losing 250 or so kids off the books is a big chunk of change.

Lawrence Morgan 4 years, 3 months ago

Attn: Steve Jacob

A chunk of change is nothing in comparison with kids lives and futures.

Rae Smith Evans 4 years, 3 months ago

as a parent with the Lawrence Virtual School, I can tell you that the learning experience has been incredible for both of my children. My boys are not at the high school level yet, but the K-8 program is fantastic! It takes a big commitment from parents to make sure lessons are done each day, and we enjoy the time spent learning together. I truly do not believe that my children would have the academic success that they have enjoyed in a brick and mortar school. We have discovered problems that they face as well as the solutions to overcome them that would likely have been ignored in a setting of more than 5 or 10 children. Virtual Charter schools ARE worth everything that it takes to maintain them.

Chris Lempa 4 years, 3 months ago

Rae - The K-8 virtual school is managed by the district, not the charter school company.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

USD 497 is perfectly able to manage something like this on their own. There are also plenty other sources available.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.