First Bell: Boundary changes proposed to handle Wakarusa Valley closure; Follies to feature ‘School Board Meeting: The Musical’; voters want their voices heard
A few education-oriented items from around the area:
Tonight, members of the Lawrence school board will consider approving boundary changes for the next school year, to accommodate changes associated with the upcoming closure of Wakarusa Valley School.
Here’s the formal description of the boundary changes up for approval, listed by school and provided by the district:
• Broken Arrow: The proposed Broken Arrow boundary will expand to include the current Wakarusa Valley attendance area south of the South Lawrence Trafficway from the current Broken Arrow boundary west to the western boundary of the district. There are an estimated 89 students who will be in grades K-5 in 2011-2012 currently attending Wakarusa Valley that live in this area.
• Sunflower: The proposed Sunflower boundary will expand to include the current Wakarusa Valley attendance area north of the South Lawrence Trafficway from the current Sunflower boundary east to Iowa Street. There are an estimated 50 students who will be in grades K-5 in 2011-2012 currently attending Wakarusa Valley that live in this area.
• Schwegler: The proposed Schwegler boundary will expand to include the Parkmar neighborhood, which is along the east side of Kasold Drive south of Clinton Parkway. This area is currently in the Broken Arrow attendance area. There are an estimated 29 students who will be in grades K-5 in 2011-2012 currently attending Broken Arrow that live in this area.
The board meeting is set for 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.
Time for another reminder that the 2011 Foundation Follies are coming up.
The big event — which raises money for the Lawrence Schools Foundation and its Teacher Innovation Grant Fund and the Funds For Excellence grant program — is set for 7 p.m. April 15 at Liberty Hall. Tickets are $35.
I’ve never been to one of these, and I’m actually looking forward to this year’s edition.
Among the acts: “School Board Meeting: The Musical,” a take, I’m told, on “High School Musical.” I haven’t seen that either.
Among the cast members for the local production: Rick Doll, superintendent; Kim Bodensteiner, chief academic officer; and Frank Harwood, chief operations officer.
No word yet on whether they’ll be playing themselves or taking on alter egos. But Harwood was willing to play along when I asked him the other day how he and his fellow cast members could be gathering for a rehearsal.
“This is not a public meeting,” he said, with a laugh. “This is an executive session — we’re discussing personnel.”
This I did confirm: There were no actual school board members in attendance, so their ability to rehearse “behind closed doors” was well within the law.
The performance will very much be out in the public soon enough: again, 7 p.m. April 15.
For more information, contact the foundation office at 330-2790 or visit LawrenceSchoolsFoundation.org.
All four incoming members of the Lawrence school board campaigned in recent weeks about the importance of the public being included, educated and informed regarding district finances, issues and challenges.
Actually, most every candidate mentioned at some point the importance of “transparency” regarding budgets and other issues, and the necessity of including the community in decisions during the months and years ahead.
Such sentiments aren’t all that surprising, I suppose, but I did find myself struck — both on and leading up to Election Day — with just how strong such messages seemed to be gaining support among voters. As I visited with people about their hopes for the board, they often mentioned past decisions about athletics fields, or school closings, or land purchases, or budget cuts or something else that hadn’t sat well with them.
Kay Jenista, voting at First Southern Baptist Church, pretty much summed up a common refrain.
“I hope they will listen to people,” the former school nurse said.
With plenty of issues and changes ongoing — a process for school consolidation this month, plus talk about assessment scores, high school renovations and the role of choice in high school attendance areas during the weeks ahead — I’m sure board members will have plenty of opportunities to keep their ears open.