Lawrence school district taking applications for positions on new consolidation working group

Rick Doll, superintendent of the Lawrence school district, is taking applications from folks looking to become at-large members of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group.

Applications to join the 27-member group are due at district headquarters by May 20 to give Doll time to appoint a diverse and representative collection of representatives ready to figure out how the district should consolidate its 14 remaining elementary schools into a list of 11 or 12 within the next two or three years.

The group will include members representing seven school communities — Cordley, Hillcrest, Kennedy, New York, Pinckney, Sunset Hill and Woodlawn — that either are being considered for consolidation or have been identified as being part of the process.

Members of the Lawrence school board expect to receive the working group’s findings in February.

“We’ll make sure that we have a nice balance,” Doll said, noting that the working group should provide balanced representation in terms of gender, race, socio-economic status and geography.

Applicants may download a copy of the form from the district’s website,

To qualify, applicants must be connected to one of seven schools involved in potential consolidation talks. Of the seven, only Woodlawn is not considered a consolidation candidate, but the school is being included to give its community a voice in the process.

Each school’s site council is charged with forwarding candidates to Doll for the working group. Schools other than Woodlawn each will have seven nominees, with Doll free to choose three; Woodlawn will nominate three, with Doll to choose one.

Then, Doll will select one each from among “at-large” applicants and others, at his discretion. He also will choose one person to serve as chair.

The working group will have one organizational meeting before June 30 and then plan to meet for two-hour public meetings twice a month, from August through January.

The format mirrors the work of the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force, whose recommendations led to the upcoming closure of Wakarusa Valley School and have prompted creation of the working group to study how — not whether — to consolidate.

“The charge is not to re-debate what the task force did,” Doll said.