Two new school board members to take their seats on Monday

photo by: Contributed

Andrew Nussbuam, left, and Kay Emerson, right, will take their seats as the newest Lawrence school board members on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.

Two new faces will soon be part of the Lawrence school board.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew on Monday will swear in new board members Kay Emerson and Andrew Nussbaum during the board’s meeting on Monday. Incumbent board member Kelly Jones will also be sworn in for a second term.

Along with Jones, Emerson and Nussbaum were elected to the board in November. They will fill the seats of former board members Melissa Johnson and G.R. Gordon-Ross.

Both Emerson and Nussbaum have prior experience with the school district. Emerson previously served on the board’s COVID-19 advisory committee and was also chair for the board’s parents of color advisory committee. Nussbaum is a former special education teacher for the district’s secondary therapeutic classroom.

With the new members, people of color will still make up the majority on the board. In early 2020, when Erica Hill, Carole Cadue-Blackwood and Paula Smith joined the board, the majority of the members were people of color, which was believed to have occurred for the first time.

In other business, the board will receive a budget update about setting funding goals to help bolster the district’s unencumbered cash balances, which are dollars that are not set aside for specific purposes.

In a memo to the board members, district finance director Kathy Johnson said the district has a goal to increase the amount of unencumbered cash in certain budgets, such as special education and the contingency reserve funds.

She said setting the goals for each fund was the first step toward improving the health of the district’s funding reserves. All told, the district wants to increase the unencumbered cash balances of the funds by about $4 million.

“Unencumbered cash balances are important to school districts,” Johnson said in the memo. “They minimize the strain of cash flow due to timing of revenue distributions from the state and county and provide a short-term buffer for those contingencies due to unexpected expenses or revenue shortfalls.”

The school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the boardroom at the district offices, 110 McDonald Drive. The meeting is open to the public, but the district may limit attendance because of the COVID pandemic.

Those who attend will be required to wear masks. The district also encourages the public to watch the meeting on Midco channel 26 or online at


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