Lawrence school board to consider striking class-size goals from policy

photo by: Nick Krug

Lawrence Public Schools district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

The Lawrence school board will consider Monday a committee’s suggestion to remove existing elementary class-size goals from board policy.

The action before the board is a recommendation to strike from policy the district’s class-size goals, which are to keep kindergarten through third-grade class sizes at 13 to 17 students and fourth- and fifth-grade classes at 18 to 26 students.

The passage that the Board Policy Committee recommended to be reviewed for elimination notes that those are goals, and class sizes “may vary significantly from these goals” due to several determining factors: instructional needs, best practices, class enrollment, student demographics, teacher availability, budget and facility limitations.

In a memo to the board, David Cunningham, district director of human resources and legal services, writes that the goals “have not generally been achieved” in most district elementary schools, primarily because of budget and facility constraints. The goals may be causing parents undue frustration and concern, he writes.

Cunningham further notes that the board and Superintendent Anthony Lewis will discuss elementary class sizes as part of the update to the district strategic plan that is to occur this school year.

The recommendation is on the board’s consent agenda, which includes items considered routine enough to be approved with a single motion and without discussion or debate. Items on the consent agenda can be put on the regular agenda and considered independently at the request of a board or audience member.

Also Monday, Ellen Willets, director of learning and technology, will present a report on the support the district provides homeless families and children, including those in foster care.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive. There are scheduled executive sessions on student- and personnel-related matters for the first hour, with the regular board meeting starting at 7 p.m.


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