WRITER: Dylan Lysen

Parents say the Lawrence school district is failing to meet special education needs during remote learning

As the Lawrence school district on Friday was finishing up its second week of fully remote learning for the 2020-21 school year, Kendra Pittman could be seen in her home hustling between her two elementary-aged children, trying to make sure they were both doing their school assignments and logging into class on their school-issued devices. While Pittman finds it challenging to just keep an eye on her ...

Douglas County Commission to consider formally abandoning controversial jail expansion project

About eight months after the Douglas County Commission approved a controversial expansion of its jail facility, the commissioners are now on the verge of formally abandoning the plan. The County Commission on Wednesday will consider repealing a resolution it approved in January that authorized a $29.6 million jail expansion project, which would have add up to 112 new beds to the 186-bed facility. The ...

Health department's school guidance remains in yellow tier for fourth week, but key indicators heading in right direction

For a fourth straight week, Lawrence Douglas-County Public Health has kept its education guidance in its yellow tier, which calls for schools to use hybrid learning options and prohibit “high risk” sports such as soccer and football. But the key indicators that guide the health department’s recommendation to county schools are heading in the right direction. As part of its weekly update, the health ...

Lawrence school district honors 2 new teachers as outstanding educators

Two teachers who are still in the early days of their careers have been recognized as “exemplary” educators in the Lawrence school district. Earlier this week, Lawrence Superintendent Anthony Lewis announced Free State High School teacher Allyson Gilmore and Quail Run Elementary teacher Alex Smith as the school district’s 2020-21 Horizon Award winners. The annual award honors Lawrence teachers who are in ...

Douglas County election officer not worried by USPS mailer about advance mail voting

A mailer from the United States Postal Service about advance mail voting has recently reached Douglas County homes after causing some controversy in a neighboring state. But the information on the mailer doesn’t affect much for county voters, a local election official said Tuesday. The mailer, which was sent out nationwide, appears to provide recommendations about requesting an advance ballot and voting by ...

Lawrence district's attendance hasn't dropped during remote learning, officials say; measures to address absenteeism are in the works

After finishing its first week of remote learning, the Lawrence school district has seen its student attendance levels come in close to what it would expect during a typical school year, district officials said Monday. But the district is taking steps to be able to respond to absenteeism if it becomes a problem later in the semester. During its update to the Lawrence school board, the district’s school ...

Eudora school district moving to hybrid learning after going fully in-person; Baldwin City remaining in mixed-method approach

As the local health department's color-coded guidance on schools moves into its third week in the yellow tier, at least one area district is switching to a hybrid learning option after previously allowing fully in-person classes. Eudora Superintendent Steve Splichal on Friday announced that the district would be moving its education method into a hybrid learning model starting Monday. The district plans to ...

Lawrence school board to hear reports on reopening schools, racial equity within district

Discussions on the Lawrence school district’s work related to reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and its work on racial equity are on tap for next week. During its meeting on Monday, the Lawrence school board will hear another update from its task force charged with planning for reopening schools, this time focusing on how the district’s first week of remote learning has gone. The board will ...

Health department's education guidance remains in yellow phase for third straight week; Lawrence district still allowing sports

Story updated at 5:43 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10: For a third straight week, Lawrence Douglas-County Public Health has kept its education guidance in its yellow tier, which calls for schools to use hybrid learning options and prohibit “high risk” sports such as soccer and football. Despite the department’s recommendation, the Lawrence school district said Thursday it would continue to allow all sports to ...

State approves Douglas County's $24.9 million CARES funding plan, including creation of local business grants

Douglas County’s plan to spend nearly $25 million of federal coronavirus relief funding has been accepted by the state. That includes business grant programs the County Commission created in the late stages of crafting its plan for its $24.9 million allotment of funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as CARES. County Administrator Sarah Plinsky informed the ...

Douglas County commissioners to hear plans for virus relief grants to local businesses

Local organizations in charge of millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funding will soon lay out their plans on how they will award the funds to Douglas County businesses. The Douglas County Commission on Wednesday will discuss funding plans from local “umbrella” organizations that are in charge of grant programs the commissioners created last month. The programs are part of the county’s spending plan ...

Lawrence high school student conducts Earth research through recent NASA internship

Despite being stuck inside his Lawrence home this summer, a local high school student was still able to take a deep look into his home planet through data. Erik Dallman, a 17-year-old senior who attends high school through a self-study program, spent his summer participating in a NASA internship where he and other students around the country conducted research using the space research organization's real Earth ...

Lawrence district, Boys & Girls Club take measures to help students begin fall semester Tuesday with 6 weeks of remote learning

As the Lawrence school district is set to begin its fall semester with remote learning on Tuesday, some families have been left in the lurch dealing with issues from lack of child care during the school day to spotty internet service. To help those families, the school district and the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence have set up new programs, offered additional technology and continued previous services that ...

Health department's education guidance remains in yellow; Lawrence school district to continue allowing 'high risk' athletics

Public health guidance to Douglas County schools will remain at its second level, the yellow tier, for another week, the local health department said Thursday in its weekly schools update. But the Lawrence school district will still conduct sports competitions that are recommended to be prohibited under the guidance, a district official said. In Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health's color-coded schools ...

Douglas County Commission poised to deny request to rezone rural land for residential development

County leaders are poised to deny a rural landowner's request to develop her nearly 70-acre property just west of Lawrence into a residential subdivision. At its meeting Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission directed county staff to develop a future item for consideration that would formally deny Mary Wakeman’s request to rezone her property at the northwest corner of East 800 Road and North 1500 Road ...

Douglas County Commission to consider rezoning rural land west of Lawrence to allow for residential development

A rural Douglas County landowner hopes to change her agricultural land into a cluster development, which would allow for the land to be subdivided into several residential parcels. The Douglas County Commission on Wednesday will consider Mary Wakeman’s request to rezone her property from Ag-1, an agricultural district, to a Cluster Development, which allows for residential development. The nearly 70-acre ...

Special Olympics recognize Lawrence High School for its unified sports program

Lawrence High School has been recognized for its sports program that aims to be inclusive and provides students with disabilities opportunities to compete. The Special Olympics recently named LHS a Unified Champion School, an honor bestowed on schools that meet the organization’s standards of excellence that focus on inclusive environments for students with disabilities. One of the primary standards required ...

Lawrence school district won't be able to accommodate many teachers who requested fully remote assignments; 2 teachers have left positions

Almost a third of Lawrence teachers said in a survey that they hoped to teach 100% remotely this school year rather than return to the classroom during the coronavirus pandemic. But there likely won’t be that many opportunities to do so, based on student enrollment data. What that means for some of those teachers when the Lawrence school district expects to begin a hybrid learning model later this year is not ...

Douglas County voters shatter turnout record in August primary; clerk's office preparing for large turnout in November

Douglas County voters recently shattered a turnout record for a primary election, as thousands more votes were cast than in previous years. The huge increase in voting has led the County Clerk’s Office to prepare for an even larger general election, including adding more dropoff boxes for advance mail ballots to be returned by hand. County Clerk Jamie Shew recently told the Journal-World that the Aug. 4 ...

Lawrence school district now says it will allow sports, activities for next 2 weeks

Story updated at 8:08 p.m. Friday: The Lawrence school district has reversed course on its plan to delay some “high risk” sports because of an increase of local COVID-19 cases. A day after announcing it would delay competitions of certain sports and activities, the Lawrence school district did an about-face on Friday and said it would allow all athletic events and activities to continue for the next two ...