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Who is most responsible for the Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group not reaching a consensus on which school to close?

Response Percent Votes
The School Board
46% 132
The Consolidation Working Group
31% 89
Superintendent Rick Doll
21% 60
Total 281


Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

The consolidation group was given the task to decide which schools to close. No other decision was acceptable. That task was decided before the group was formed and did not leave open whether or not that type of decision was best for taxpayers or the school district.

Much of our districts school building problems have been the result of a demolition by neglect attitude of a previous administration and BOE members. Apparently driven by a private agenda to build new buildings. An attitude USD 497 taxpayers can never afford.

In essence our initial tax dollar investments go straight to hell when taxpayer owned property does not receive the attention and care legally expected or required of the admin and the USD 497 BOE.

The following example represents the magnitude by which a demolition by neglect attitude impacts the taxpayers as opposed to maintaining structures as expected:

How should the school district pay for a $16.5 million maintenance backlog in elementary schools?

Notice the $20 million USD 497 $$$ spent on the PLAY sports project could have rehabilitated all of our elementary school facilities.

When future options are presented to USD 497 taxpayers, the option of spending annual capital outlay funds over a 3-4 year period as opposed to a another bond issue or increasing USD 497 taxes should be among them

In fact it would be quite thoughtful for this BOE to take steps that would never again allow millions upon millions upon millions of USD 497 tax dollars to be spent without USD 497 taxpayer approval. I reference the reckless spending on the most recent PLAY sports project.

Let the voters decide whether or not they want to be reckless.


Merrill the taxpayer.

KrampusLawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow. Is this really a poll question? If the Journal-World were to be honest, there would be more choices. One would be "The Data." I realize that the Journal-World didn't actually report "The Data" involved in this process, but it is there. A member from the Consolidation Working Group provided a link to a report that RSP gave to the school board:

I decided to read it. This group is hired by school districts to close schools. They are supposed to present information that helps make closings more palatable. What happened was the opposite. The lead consultant said that we are experiencing a regreening of the urban core. That means east and central Lawrence.

Why are so many people having a hard time re-examining the initial charge? Things change. So many people seem to have a hard time changing their minds even if there are major developments.

I encourage SOMEONE at the Journal-World to report on RSP's report to the school board. Then we can have a fair conversation about this important issue. The Working Group has a difficult job and lazy reporting is making it worse.

walkthehawk 6 years, 1 month ago

and yet you spend your time not just reading the local paper, but trolling the comments section? um, rock on, dude.

Mike Myers 6 years, 1 month ago

Poll: Should developer driven suburban sprawl and walmart sized mega-schools like in Topeka, Wichita, and Olathe be considered the the perfect model for education in a Kansas town rich in history and known and loved for its historic neighborhoods and capacity to tell the status quo to shove it (aka bleeding Kansas, suburban malls, downtown malls, ill-considered highways)?

  • Yes because I only care about what I can see from my own yard
  • Yes because I hate hippy liberals and I work for Americans for Prosperity
  • No because I deeply care about education, the health of children, neighborhoods, and property values, and I believe that we need to send a message to city hall that in order to put Lawrence on a sustainable track we need to balance sprawl with infill and investment in our older neighborhoods.

Hint: (correct answer is the last one)

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

i voted for doll just because i don't like him

spiderd 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes, it's really this simple. You should be ashamed of yourself LJW.

Brian Hall 6 years, 1 month ago

But it makes so much sense: Put people who have a vested interest in keeping their schools open in charge of a decision to close their schools.

George Lippencott 6 years, 1 month ago

Ah yes – let us find a villain.

Perhaps the school board offered an opportunity, primarily to parents attending schools that might be consolidated, to confront the fiscal reality and perhaps find some consensus among the stakeholders that could ease the ultimate pain.

Was that effort a failure or a decent common sense attempt to corporately address a challenge our school system faces.

In the absence of any such consensus the school board may be forced to impose a solution that while unacceptable to many parents of children in candidate schools for consolidation may be acceptable to the public at large who will have to pay for whatever solution we adopt.

As the dean of our local legislative delegation has opined – we may be close to a property tax revolt. There may be too much reliance by the stake holders on more revenue to avoid consolidation. The taxpayers may not share their zeal.

Are there villains or just a lot of people trying to deal with an emotional and financial challenge?

walkthehawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Why is the important thing that we blame someone? Circumstances seem to have changed a bit--I, for one, am glad that we are not charging full speed ahead at a goal that may no longer be what makes the most sense, long-term. Let's wait and see what happens in this legislative session and at the enrollment projections for the next few years and go from there.

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