Committee recommends not changing middle school boundaries in Lawrence

photo by: File photo

A concept showing a map of "secondary assignment" zones presented during the Boundary Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024.

After months of discussion and planning, a committee in the Lawrence school district is recommending leaving the current boundaries intact for its four middle schools.

Potential changes were centered on Liberty Memorial Central Middle School’s upcoming switch to a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics curriculum. According to boundary concepts devised by Overland Park consulting firm RSP & Associates, students within the LMCMS boundary not wanting to take part in the STEAM curriculum would have been reassigned to a different middle school.

After meeting with stakeholders to solicit feedback last week, the Boundary Advisory Committee decided “nearly unanimously” to not recommend any changes, according to a news release from the district. The release also cited survey results from attendees of the public input sessions, with 21% strongly disagreeing with the proposed changes. Committee member G.R. Gordon-Ross, according to the release, said that he heard public feedback suggesting a delay in boundary changes to allow the STEAM program to get off the ground.

“(Boundary Advisory Committee) members suggested the committee request more data for further boundary study, such as why families seek transfers to schools other than their home school,” the news release read.

Also factoring into the broader discussion is a new state law that governs how and when students can transfer into districts where they don’t live. In 2023, the Legislature passed a law that, beginning in June 2024, will let students apply to districts other than their own if those districts have space to accommodate them.

“As the district identifies for the board space available for open enrollment at each grade level and at each school — it will look at building capacities, staffing levels, and current student enrollment — including leaving room for students who may move into Lawrence during the school year,” the release said.

The Boundary Advisory Committee next plans to present recommendations, including its recommendation on boundaries, to the school board at its Feb. 26 meeting.


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