School closings on the line in Lawrence

School board approves plan to close budget gap without closing schools
East Heights Child Development Center would still close
07:16 p.m., March 9, 2010 Updated 08:17 p.m.
In a surprise announcement, Lawrence school board president Scott Morgan Tuesday evening proposed a plan to get the district through next school year by cutting $5 million without closing any elementary schools.
Video: Community group happy to see schools saved

A large group of parents and community members were pleased by the Lawrence school board's decision not to close schools. Watch »

Video: School board cuts deficit, saves schools

The Lawrence school board proposed a plan that would cut millions from the year's budget without closing any elementary schools. Members of the community who attended Tuesday's meeting applauded the results and efforts of the board members. Watch »

Video: School board decisions yet to be made

The Lawrence school board has still not made any decisions on how it will proceed in cutting $5 million from the budget. Some are in favor of closing schools while others are opposed. Watch »

Video: School board discusses options

The Lawrence school board Monday discussed options for cutting $5 million from the budget. Some ideas included closing schools, while some members want to find ways of saving money that keep schools open. Watch »

Video: School board weighing options

The first of several planned meetings concerning the future of Lawrence schools was held Tuesday. Parents voiced concerns and tried to come up with options that don't involve closing schools. Watch »

Lawrence school board budget study session
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six Part Seven

The Lawrence Board of Education met on Feb. 2 to discuss options for budget cuts to make up a deficit of at least $4 million.

View all videos (7)

School District Elementary Student-Teacher Ratio
Secondary School Student-Teacher Ratio
School District Program Cut Options
State school funding reductions
2009 Lawrence schools preliminary enrollment report
2002 Lawrence school closing options
Are you generally satisfied with how the Lawrence School Board handled the $5 million in budget cuts members had to make?

Poll results

Response Percent
Total 564
Do you believe Lawrence public schools can cover a $5 million budget deficit without closing schools or laying off teachers?

Poll results

Response Percent
Not sure
Total 971
Should the Lawrence School Board consider closing some schools to save money in response to declining state funding?

Poll results

Response Percent
Not sure
Total 1050
More School closings on the line in Lawrence
Wind chill warning expires, advisory in effect for Douglas County
06:27 p.m., January 5, 2014 Updated 12:07 p.m.
A face-numbing winter blast caused few weather-related incidents during the weekend, but sub-zero temperatures closed schools today in Lawrence and surrounding communities. Get your forecast today and take a look at the weekend’s weather round-up. Click here for the latest area closings. By Nicole Wentling and Elliot Hughes
Lawrence school board votes to keep all elementaries open for now, but issue likely to return
April 9, 2012
Lawrence’s smallest elementary schools will stay open — for now.
First-class partnership: Kindergarten visits to Alzheimer’s home likely to end if Hillcrest School shuttered
March 26, 2012
Watch out, Lawrence. There’s a chance of some wild and wacky weather. Gingerbread tornadoes, pumpkin pie snow, ice cream fog and pizza lightning are all a possibility, if Jennifer Wilk’s kindergarten class at Hillcrest School has anything to say about it. And they have a lot to say.
School closings to still be addressed
March 6, 2012
Members of the Lawrence school board agreed that they would have to vote on whether or not to consolidate the district’s elementary schools. They just weren’t ready to vote on the issue Monday night and don’t expect to be at the next meeting.
Schools scenario shifts to boundaries
February 27, 2012
Today, the Lawrence school board is expected to accept the recommendations that resulted from six months of work by the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Group.
First Bell: Online petition targets standards-based grading for sixth-graders; Consolidation Working Group to receive detailed data Monday
November 7, 2011
Time for another edition of “First Bell,” a look at issues and items involving education in and around Lawrence.
Data to help drive consolidation deliberations for Lawrence schools
November 6, 2011
As members of a consolidation working group continue working on a proposal for combining, expanding or even building new schools — an effort they acknowledge will only become both emotional and divisive in the weeks ahead — a team of experts is compiling numbers behind the scenes to build a data-filled foundation for deliberations.
First Bell: Consultants to help forecast enrollment, adjust boundaries; board member justifies consolidation efforts; advisers consider consensus possible
October 25, 2011
Time for another edition of “First Bell,” a look at issues and items involving education in and around Lawrence.
Lawrence school board to answer consolidation questions Monday
October 21, 2011
Members of the Lawrence school board will get a chance Monday to “affirm, change or cancel the charge” of its volunteer advisory group assigned to recommend a plan for closing two or three elementary schools during the next two to three years.
Lawrence schools committee hopes school-finance play could be ‘win for everybody’
October 21, 2011
Lawrence committee hoping for help to avoid closing schools.
First Bell: Agenda set for next week’s meeting of Consolidation Working Group; Adult Learning Center schedules open house
September 28, 2011
Time for another edition of “First Bell,” a look at issues and items involving education in and around Lawrence.
Questions, answers ahead for group considering school consolidation
September 8, 2011
Nearly three dozen teachers, parents and others invested in the future of six Lawrence elementary schools being considered for consolidation gathered Wednesday evening to pose question after question after question about the effort’s potential effects on kids, the evidence being used to make decisions, and the financial implications of closing either two or three schools within two or three years.
Lawrence school board debates consolidation effort
August 9, 2011
A member of the Lawrence school board can’t imagine basing the future of six educational homes for some of Lawrence’s most vulnerable children on what he considers miscalculated math, inapplicable data and ill-conceived conclusions.
Mike Wildgen, former city manager, serving as chairman of school consolidation group
June 27, 2011
Having already helped steer some community cornerstones through tumultuous times, Mike Wildgen is ready to help the Lawrence school district’s newest group of volunteer advisers figure out how to consolidate schools, close schools, upgrade schools or even build new schools.
Lawrence school consolidation group breaks the ice at first meeting
June 24, 2011
Members of a volunteer group poised to reshape the future of elementary schools in the Lawrence school district shared vivid memories of their own elementary school careers during an organizational meeting Thursday night at district headquarters.
First Bell: High praise for Lawrence district’s ESL program; still time to seek a seat with consolidation working group; Lawrence Schools Foundation directs music grants
May 20, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a look at news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
First Bell: Free State senior named U.S. Presidential Scholar; today is nominations deadline for $10,000 Bobs’ Award; Wichita school district to close school, cut 168 jobs
May 10, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a look at news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
First Bell: School board member Bob Byers anticipates ‘fresh’ approach to issues, challenges beginning in July
May 2, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a look at news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
School board puts new roof at Kennedy School on hold
April 26, 2011
Kennedy School will not be getting a new roof this summer, as members of the Lawrence school board say they don’t want to influence upcoming work on a plan to consolidate elementary schools.
First Bell: Transition efforts scheduled for Wakarusa Valley students, families; board approves ‘transfer preferences’ for 29 Broken Arrow students; Lawrence High entrepreneurs to compete Wednesday
April 19, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
Support sought for consolidating elementary schools in Lawrence
April 18, 2011
As members of the Lawrence school board continue making plans to form a community-minded process for consolidating elementary schools during the next several years, they’re finding support from folks who some may see as unlikely advocates.
First Bell: Wakarusa Valley invites public, seeks yearbooks, for 50th anniversary event; Eudora boosts fees for all-day kindergarten; four Lawrence elementaries expected to remain without full-day K
April 18, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
Lawrence school district to plan school mergers
April 9, 2011
Lane Eisenhart is a realist when it comes to the future of her neighborhood’s beloved elementary, New York School.
First Bell: Follies tables filling up fast; Wakarusa Valley likely to retain playground equipment; driver’s ed meeting set for April 9 at Free State High School
April 4, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
Wakarusa Valley building may stay in use as new location for Lawrence Virtual School
April 2, 2011
Wakarusa Valley School will close at the end of this school year, but it may not remain closed for long.
Lawrence school board members vote to close Wakarusa Valley School
09:51 p.m., March 28, 2011 Updated 12:43 a.m.
Wakarusa Valley School soon will celebrate its 50th birthday, but it won’t be open for its 51st.
Wakarusa Valley School closure, consolidation options to be taken up at meeting Monday
March 26, 2011
Voters already are deciding who will serve as the Lawrence school board’s next majority, but incumbent board members will be the ones setting a course for shrinking the number of elementary schools in Lawrence during the next five years.
Consensus building on closure, consolidations for Lawrence schools
March 15, 2011
Consensus is spreading. The Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force’s consensus plan — close one school next year, then consolidate six schools into three or four within the next three to five years — picked up support Monday night from some key constituencies.
First Bell: Teacher negotiations begin Wednesday; reconfiguration to open rooms in elementary schools; board passes on school ‘choice’
March 2, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
Lawrence school board sets formal process to consider closing Wakarusa Valley School with discussion on March 14, public hearing on March 28
February 28, 2011
Plans to close Wakarusa Valley School will be up for discussion in two weeks and then up for formal public comment March 28, members of the Lawrence school board decided Monday night.
First Bell: Students to compete at KU’s Engineering Expo; Wakarusa Valley entered district after 1965 petition; Java n’ Jazz set for Tuesday
February 24, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
First Bell: Capital outlay fund available for projects; mold inspection set for Kennedy; parents worried at Wakarusa Valley
February 23, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
Prospect of Wakarusa Valley School closure upsets parents
February 23, 2011
The recommendation to close Wakarusa Valley School was formed during the past eight months, as two dozen members of the Lawrence school district community discussed values, gathered data, compiled numbers, toured buildings, studied budgets and reviewed research to determine what they considered “best for kids” within painful budget restraints.
Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force recommends Wakarusa Valley School closure, consolidation of at least four other schools
February 22, 2011
Wakarusa Valley School would close next year and at least four of six other elementary schools in Lawrence would face consolidation within three to five years, under recommendations being forwarded to the Lawrence school board next week.
Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force clear on choices, mum on advice
February 19, 2011
After eight months of compiling, studying, touring, reading, assessing, writing, meeting, discussing, calculating and otherwise preparing to define a vision for the future of the Lawrence school district’s elementary schools, members of an appointed task force now find themselves left with a single responsibility.
First Bell: Southwest wants to keep its directional name; could Broken Arrow be back in closure mix?; schedule changes for developmental screenings
February 17, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
First Bell: Task force considering more than school closings, consolidations; supporters of dual-language school to show ‘Speaking in Tongues’; Bishop Seabury, Free State grads among Global Scholars a
February 7, 2011
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
First Bell: Board member cites reasoning for closing schools; three Lawrence students accept invitations from Washington; Labor Department offers career guidance
06:03 a.m., February 4, 2011 Updated 03:41 p.m.
Time for another edition of First Bell, a rundown of news and other educational items involving schools in the area.
Some Lawrence school employees don’t get paid for snow days
February 1, 2011
Members of the district’s classified staff — secretaries, paraeducators, library media assistants, custodians, food service works and others — face different compensation issues, depending on their schedules.
Task force talks additions, subtractions as it studies future of local elementary schools
January 17, 2011
Renovate Cordley and Pinckney schools. Turn New York School into an early-childhood center. Replace both Sunset Hill and East Heights buildings with new, larger schools designed to meet the growing needs of district programs and student populations.
Lawrence school board meeting postponed until Thursday
January 10, 2011
Inclement weather prompts officials to postpone Monday night’s Lawrence school board meeting until 8 p.m. Thursday.
Task force envisions future for Lawrence elementary schools
November 30, 2010
Members of the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force finish some of their early work. Now they need to work together to compile consensus recommendations for the Lawrence school board.
Kennedy School makes way for East Heights students
July 13, 2010
Kennedy School will turn 50 years old in January.
Boys and Girls Club leasing former school building
July 4, 2010
It won’t be long until Janet Murphy and her staff will begin to serve 300 elementary students in the former East Heights School, 1430 Haskell Ave.
Board OKs closure of East Heights
June 15, 2010
Lawrence school board members Monday night unanimously approved the closure of the East Heights Early Childhood Family Center building.
Lawrence Public Schools announce an additional $500,000 in administrative cuts
02:33 p.m., June 7, 2010 Updated 05:58 p.m.
Lawrence school district leaders have eliminated the equivalent of 11.5 full-time administrative support staff positions — through attrition and six layoffs — at district headquarters as part of $4.6 million in cuts for next school year.
Lawrence School Board to consider boundary change to move Kennedy students to New York
April 8, 2010
Lawrence school administrators have proposed a boundary change to shift more Kennedy School students into New York School for next year to make room for early childhood students at Kennedy.
Broken Arrow principal waiting to hear from parents before deciding how he’ll split his time with Wakarusa Valley
April 7, 2010
Broken Arrow Principal Brian McCaffrey sees his assignment for next year as a chance to work with two successful teaching staffs and schools instead of just one.
Wakarusa Valley, Broken Arrow elementary schools to share principal
April 6, 2010
Lawrence Public School Supt. Rick Doll informed Wakarusa Valley staff and parents Tuesday night that Broken Arrow Principal Brian McCaffrey will lead both schools starting in the fall.
Langston Hughes principal leaving district for Gardner-Edgerton school
12:13 p.m., April 6, 2010 Updated 01:53 p.m.
Langston Hughes Principal Lisa Williams-Thompson has resigned to take a job next year in the Gardner-Edgerton school district.
Preliminary discussions under way about Boys and Girls Club taking over East Heights building
New occupant needed as early-childhood programs set to vacate facility
March 24, 2010
The Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence has expressed interest in using the school district’s East Heights building after the early-childhood programs move into Kennedy School next school year.
School board president wants to stick by plan not to close schools for next year
Legislature may short district another $1.68M
March 22, 2010
The Lawrence school board president says it’s unlikely board members will reopen talks of closing schools if the district has to consider deeper budget cuts for next school year.
Lawrence superintendent is waiting for process to play out in Topeka
March 18, 2010
Lawrence school board members, who already have approved $4.6 million in cuts for next school year, have said legislators must increase taxes to keep the board from having to cut deeper.
Up to 200 Lawrence-area residents plan to attend Tuesday’s education funding rally
March 15, 2010
Members of the group Save Our Neighborhood Schools are organizing a bus leaving at 10:30 a.m. from the Lawrence High School parking lot.
Live updates: School board set to meet again to make more budget cuts
March 9, 2010
The Lawrence school board will continue its meeting at 7 tonight, starting out with discussions on raising the student-teacher ratio and closing schools after their four-hour meeting Monday night when they cut $3.2 million before getting to those topics.
Board to discuss budget details
March 4, 2010
After weeks of hearing public pleas not to close schools or significantly raise the student-teacher ratio, Lawrence school board members on Monday will get into the details about their budget cuts.
Some parents not against closings at last forum
March 3, 2010
Nothing brought the crowd to its feet this time. Compared with Monday night when school district patrons at Central Junior High were united against closing any schools, the Lawrence school board’s final budget forum Tuesday at West Junior High was more of a back-and-forth.
Emotion runs high at school forum
March 2, 2010
Near the end of the Lawrence school board’s budget hearing Monday night at Central Junior High, an audience member yelled out.
Middle of the road: Lawrence elementary size neither biggest nor smallest
February 28, 2010
Among 13 of the state’s larger school districts, Lawrence is seventh in the number of elementary students it has per school, according to enrollment numbers for this school year.
Older buildings put district in tough spot
February 28, 2010
At last week’s meeting, Lawrence school board president Scott Morgan put up a map of Lawrence with a 1.5-mile circle around Fraser Hall.
Taking roll: Where school board members stand on the budget
February 24, 2010
Lawrence school board members laid some of their cards on the table Monday as the district seeks to cut $5 million before next school year.
City commission may back off school closing opposition
February 23, 2010
As city commissioners get ready for their meeting this evening, there are signs that they may be backing off from their intent to send a letter asking the Lawrence school board to refrain from closing any school.
City may send letter urging school board to say no to school closings
Officials to consider letter to board
February 19, 2010
A majority of city commissioners appear interested in sending a letter to school board members that urges them to reject the idea of closing schools.
Some city leaders against school closings
Board discusses options with local governments
February 17, 2010
At least two city commissioners voiced concerns Tuesday to Lawrence school board members about closing elementary schools, a possibility that is on the table as part of the district’s budget crisis.
Budget talks don’t feel so good
Closing schools, cutting programs both painful
February 16, 2010
A group of parents who don’t want the Lawrence school board to close any elementary schools because of a $5 million budget deficit came out in force again at a public forum at Southwest Junior High School on Monday night.
Without cutting teachers, closing schools, school district only half-way to closing budget deficit
Cuts to fine arts, sports, administration, other areas only add up to $2.5 million
February 3, 2010
The painful list of Lawrence school budget cut options — from dropping support staff to after-school music programs and athletic coaches — will only get board members halfway to covering a $5 million deficit.
District weighs budget options
Deficit likely to stretch to $5M
February 3, 2010
It was two and a half hours of talk about options for budget cuts in Lawrence schools, including fewer secondary school courses, more students in elementary classes, fewer positions, and even closing some elementary schools.
Lawrence parents plan Save our Schools rally for this weekend
February 2, 2010
Members of Save Our Neighborhood Schools are organizing for Saturday a rally and march down Massachusetts Street.
Tuesday’s school board budget study session will be aired live on Sunflower Broadband
February 1, 2010
The Lawrence school board’s budget study session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday will be televised on Sunflower Broadband channel 26.
Sending out an S.O.S.
Save Our Schools exhibit set up to help prevent New York, Cordley from closure
January 30, 2010
The Percolator event highlighting East Lawrence grade-school art is far from child’s play…
Group: More than education, schools offer community
January 20, 2010
Parents of schools around Lawrence are rallying together, worried their neighborhood schools might be closed as Lawrence Public Schools face a $4 million budget deficit.