Lawrence school board to consider finalizing new equity policy
photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo
A proposed policy that aims to address educational disparities in the Lawrence school district could soon be put into place.
During a meeting on Monday, the Lawrence school board will consider finalizing a new equity policy that focuses on addressing inequities experienced by marginalized groups, such as people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, women and several others. The board reviewed the policy during its last meeting on April 26.
Superintendent Anthony Lewis said at the time that he requested the new policy after he joined the district in July 2018, and told the board he was glad to see it come forward. He also said putting the policy into action would be “legacy work” for the district.
The stated goal of the proposed policy is to disrupt systemic racism and other inequities by changing the district’s governance and resource allocation, among other things. The policy seeks to address disparities in access to academic opportunities, graduation outcomes, and disciplinary action for students from historically marginalized communities.
During the meeting, the board will also hear a report on the district’s work toward putting the equity policy into action, including current practices that support the policy and new practices that will be put into place.
In other business, the board will consider approving a board governance manual. Parts of the proposed manual reflect a commitment to equity in education outlined in the proposed equity policy. It also lays out guidelines for when board members can serve in the president and vice president positions and includes a two-term limit for the those positions.
The school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the district encourages the public to watch the meeting on Midco channel 26 or online at youtube.com/USD497.
Those who want to speak during public comments at the meeting can still do so. The district asks for comments to be sent by email to PatronCommentary@usd497.org. Comments can also be emailed to board members ahead of the meeting. Their contact information is available on the district’s website at usd497.org/Board.
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