Middle schools want to add 2 sports; Lawrence school board to consider

photo by: Nick Krug

Lawrence Public Schools district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

Lawrence middle school athletic directors and coaches are asking the district to bring back one sport and add another, according to information in the school board’s meeting agenda.

The district cut the middle school athletics budget in the 2002-2003 year, according to the agenda materials. Now, middle school administration and staff are asking the board to reinstate seventh grade girls and boys basketball and to add cross-country for seventh and eighth graders.

Seventh grade basketball would be blended into the existing eighth grade program, according to the agenda; no additional coach, uniforms or transportation would be required.

Cross-country “will increase participation opportunities by providing a continuation of elementary schools’ running clubs and bridges to the high school cross country programs,” the agenda says.

Staff would like to add a head coach and an assistant coach for each of the four middle schools, for $1,525 and $1,235, respectively. In total, the eight positions would cost $11,040. According to the agenda, the request will be submitted to a subcommittee of the negotiations team.

“If the addition is approved during negotiations agreement, they will become a part of the compensation package going forward,” the agenda says. If that money is not approved, however, the agenda says the schools “have discretionary athletics and activities budget allocations and would run like an intramural program and pay the coaches at the intramural coach rate.”

In other business:

The board will hear two reports. In the first, Julie Boyle, the district’s executive director of communications, and Rachel Asbury, communications specialist, will give the board an overview of communication efforts, challenges and successes through the 2018-2019 year, as well as some initial plans for next school year. The full report was not available in the board agenda as of Sunday evening.

The second report will focus on the district’s work for Year 2 objectives of the Kansas Education System Accreditation, which included building leadership teams, action plans and more. The full report was not available in the board agenda as of Sunday evening.

Among items on the board’s consent agenda, meaning routine items that are generally approved with one motion unless a board member or the superintendent asks to pull one for discussion, are:

• A medical/dental/vision benefits package that will increase costs to the district by an estimated 9%, or $1,142,265;

• Purchase of playground equipment for Broken Arrow Elementary School, for $74,834; and

• Replacement of the field house drive and sidewalk at Free State High School, for $89,023.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the district offices, 110 McDonald Drive. Complete agenda materials are available via usd497.org.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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