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Dr. Doll Just Waiting to Close Schools

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Dr. Rick Doll, apparently incapable of learning from Scott Morgan's blunder of November, 2009, offers potential school closings as first choice in meeting potential budget cuts. School Board President Scott Morgan received an incredible amount of public feedback and criticism for choosing school closings as his first option in November. Morgan, after listening to the community, provided an alternative budget compromise that preserved all of the schools.

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The House Appropriations Committee, during Thursday's session, approved even deeper education cuts. Without hesitation, the Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent stated that, "board members would need to decide whether to put closing schools back on the table." Doll spoke out in a Lawrence Journal World story on Thursday. “I don’t think anybody wants to go there, but I serve at the pleasure of the board,” Doll said. “We have the numbers. It’s not like anything has changed. It’s just whether they would decide to direct us to look at that again.”

Echoing the sentiment that future cuts would be made at the local school level, Board Member Mary Loveland said, “The frustrating part is that the Legislature doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency, and people have to get on with their lives. Teachers need to know if they have jobs.”

Considering all of the cuts that have been made, it is unthinkable to consider further cuts to schools, teachers, or programs. Moreover, it is discouraging to consider the loss of more personnel. However, once again, it appears that the local schools will absorb the potential shortfall.

The question is asked of Dr. Doll that was asked of Mr. Morgan. Why is your first response to consider school closings? Why is there little to no consideration of reducing highly compensated Administrative staff?

Read Further: Superintendent Doll: In over his head?

Comments

Kookamooka 8 years, 1 month ago

Republicans afraid to raise taxes. I say-vote them out. I'd rather pay my taxes like a patriotic American and leave the refund in the system so my kids can have clean drinking water, safe streets and lower class sizes.

There is a reason the Greeks invented the system of taxation in Democracy. It's been working for two thousand years. The Republican's are full of the sort of hubris that brought down that empire. Boot them out or brace for destruction.

logical_parent 8 years, 1 month ago

Did anyone ever think that just maybe the Lawrence school district is so overbloated and costly in personnel that they need to quit pointing the finger at cutting out everything at the elementary level and look at the finger that is pointing back at themselves? I am all for raising taxes for my kids education but since the school district has exhibited FOOLISH spending practices, I think I will keep my money in my pocket until the school district learns to spend MY money wisely!

gr3sam 8 years, 1 month ago

Is the good Dr. actually capable of supervising 26 personnel, 15 grade schools, our multiple Jr. Highs and 2 High Schools? Maybe he's in over his head and looking to pull the rip-cord on a school to pare down his responsibilities? Maybe, just maybe, Lawrence needs a superintendent of schools with some actual experience in a district this size. Maybe we need someone with original ideas on how to cut the fat from under his own chin and run a lean operation! Just maybe . . . . .

George Lippencott 8 years, 1 month ago

I am afraid that this could get much worse. If we do not obtain a healthy increase in state revenue for K-12 we may well be short quite a bit next year - pressure to again look at school closings. Watch the Republicans pass something to allow us to up our LOB so we can fight among ourselves over what might be hefty tax increases.

tomatogrower 8 years, 1 month ago

They want to close down all schools. They are rolling back school funding almost 10 years, but they don't have the guts to roll back the tax cuts they have given to big business by the same amount. Did_I_say_that (anonymous) says… "Our teachers are some of the best and it would be a shame to lose them to other higher paying districts."

Other districts are laying off teachers too. They will leave and go into the business world and get the jobs that the tax cuts are creating. Oh right, the tax cuts aren't creating jobs. I guess they'll have to draw unemployment, and if they get sick they can always go to the emergency room and get treatment for free. Then there will be all those poorly educated kids who will be out on the streets in a few years. Either the companies will have to educate them when they hire them, or they will just have to take even more jobs out of the country. Then the uneducated students will have to go on welfare or go to prison. Nice plan, Republicans. Big business and our state legislators are nothing but traitors.

George Lippencott 8 years, 1 month ago

Did_I_say_that (anonymous) says…

Aha, is that where you are coming from?? On the notion that there may be more ineficiency I would concur., The burden is on the administration and board to better communicate where the money is going. There is always a nagging perception that government, all kinds, is not as careful with public money as they might be with their own

George Lippencott 8 years, 1 month ago

Did_I_say_that (anonymous) says…

Aha, is that where you are coming from?? On the notion that there may be more ineficiency I would concur., The burden is on the administration and board to better communicate where the money is going. There is always a nagging perception that government, all kinds, is not as careful with public money as they might be with their own

weeslicket 8 years, 1 month ago

"...... but I serve at the pleasure of the board,” Doll said. dr. doll receives some mighty fine compensation for being a lapdog.

worth remembering: while the school board did choose dr. doll, other participants in this interview process had him pegged as choice #3 (out of 3). odd.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

In the first place most repub legislators and who knows how many others subscribe to this horrendous philosophy: Beware: TABOR Is Coming After devastating government services in Colorado, the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" threatens to spread. BY MICHAEL REBNE

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Also some districts are on this charter school bandwagon aka corporate welfare that which will still require tax dollars only more of them. According to Democracy NOW a principal in the Brooklyn area is drawing $350,000 per year.

Then there are those who still believe privatization saves tax dollars? Since when?

Take a look at the Medical Insurance Industry that which takes in $1.2 trillion tax dollars annually.

Take a look at the 6th and Wakarusa tax dollars that subsidize local developers.

Take a look at the military industrial complex mass of profiteers.

Take a look at the new hotel on the hill.

Take a look at the parking garage on New Hampshire that city offices have bailed out.

Take a look at the city offices in the former River City retail Center

Take a look at the government offices in Tanger Mall

Take a look at the Farmland site.

Take a look at the Farmers Turnpike development aka fiasco

Take a look at the medical research center on 15th that taxpayers were forced to bail out

Take a look at the Wall Street Banks

How does closing neighborhood schools worth millions upon millions in tax dollars savings and replacing them with new $20 million schools save tax dollars? Plus busing?

So how in the world does private corporate america save tax dollars?

It's usually the mom and pops that have to make it on their own...

Neighborhood Public Schools are still a best bang for the tax buck!

Neighborhood Public education is still a best payback on a tax buck!

Those who build new neighborhoods MUST provide NEW SCHOOLS for their high profit ventures!

George Lippencott 8 years, 1 month ago

merrill (anonymous) says…

The big bad TABOR. WE tried it once here a few years ago and it was soundly defeated. Each year there are variants. Vigilance!!

Clevercowgirl 8 years, 1 month ago

I find it interesting that Dr. Doll is encouraging the School Board to revisit school closure at this time. Essentially nothing has changed from the funding scenarios discussed at the meetings. There already was a provision in the School board's motion to allow for additional funds, if needed. This would involve increasing class size by 1. If the School Board does not want to do that, then there are still other cuts presented to the board that can be made, including several million spent on sports. It was decided at the last meeting that the School Board would form a citizen's advisory task force to review all schools in the district for age, upkeep, etc. I find it fascinating that Dr. Doll is putting forth closures without the benefit of review and guidlines to determine what is best for our children and the district as a whole. There are funds to make it though next year without school closure. What is the hurry, Dr. Doll?

songbird 8 years, 1 month ago

Just curious why it has been the board naming names of potential school closures. There is a complete policy on school closures on the usd497 site - here is the link: http://lpsnet.usd497.org/Conferences/BoardPolicyManual/AG

I wanted to copy a specific phrase from this policy, "Initially, the superintendent shall make recommendations to the board concerning any facility that may be discontinued as an attendance center."

Why the comment "...... but I serve at the pleasure of the board,” Doll said.???? Who's in charge here? If school closures are in our future, there needs to be a comprehensive study of the buildings, displacement of the fewest kids, boundaries - it can't be just a whimsical comment at a board meeting or an administrator saying he was given "no direction" so he just "chose a few" to illustrate the cost savings! We need leadership and a long range plan. The way this has been handled has been awful for patrons of the school district (students, parents, employees) with no warning, your school could be mentioned at the next board meeting!!!!

windex 8 years, 1 month ago

Did I say that says: The Board has only accessed a small portion of the $6.5 million contingency fund. They are trying to preserve a full month's (two pay periods) of payroll in that fund; however, there is no history of state payments ever falling that far behind.

Wrong. It's ONE pay period and yes, there is ample history (and recent, at that) of the state falling that far behind.

windex 8 years, 1 month ago

USD 497 teachers are paid monthly, on the 20th of the month. The monthly amount is roughly 5.5 million. If the state lagged 2 weeks in its payments (which it has, several times recently), and if the district had to pay employees 2 weeks late (because it had spent down its contingency fund and had to wait for payment from the state), teachers would be 6 weeks without a paycheck. 6 weeks is a pretty long time for families living on the tight budgets that teacher salaries provide. If I were you I'd be careful about who I alienated.

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