Lawrence school board scheduled to finalize 2022-2023 budget, hear update on facility plan for next year’s budget

photo by: Dylan Lysen/Lawrence Journal-World

Lawrence Public Schools district offices pictured in April 2021.

The Lawrence school board will soon officially adopt its budget for the 2022-2023 school year after a long process that involved millions of dollars in cuts and contract negotiations for both certified and classified staff members.

As part of its meeting Monday, the Lawrence school board is scheduled to hold its budget hearing and adopt budget resolutions. The board will vote on whether to adopt a resolution to exceed the revenue neutral rate and a resolution regarding its local option budget. The proposed budget includes $231.69 million in expenditures.

To help address a budget shortfall driven largely by enrollment declines and the board’s desire to set aside funding for staff raises, the board previously voted to approve $6.4 million in budget cuts. Those included dozens of staff cuts, program reductions and the creation of multigrade elementary classrooms. The board has also approved contracts and raises with the unions representing teachers and other certified staff and classified staff, both of which fell short of wage goals expressed by the unions.

In other business, the board will receive an update on work to create a facility master plan that will help inform budget decisions for next school year. The district proposed closing multiple schools for the 2022-2023 school year, but the board took school closures off the table due in part to the short time frame for discussion; however, both district administrators and board members have said they expect school closures to be up for debate again for the 2023-2024 school year. The district hired RSP & Associates to update enrollment projections and help create the master plan, and as part of Monday’s meeting will receive a report regarding the membership and direction/objective of a community committee that will be involved in the process. The committee will use the enrollment analysis, facility condition assessments, cost estimates, boundary scenarios and district data to inform its planning discussions.

The Lawrence school board will convene at 6 p.m. Monday at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

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