Letter to the editor: We all lose if a school closes

To the editor:

I have been a Lawrence taxpayer at my current address in the city for over 35 years. During that time, I have witnessed the actual or scheduled closing (or “repurposing”) of East Heights, Kennedy, Centennial, New York, Broken Arrow and Pinckney elementary and Central middle schools, all located east of Iowa Street. During the same time, new schools have been built west of Iowa, with none closed. The fate of Pinckney and Broken Arrow was still technically undecided when I wrote this letter, but the outcome seemed clear. As Judge Roy Bean allegedly said, “Give him a fair trial and then hang him!”

Why were these schools being targeted? Because they are “old” and so less effective as learning centers? How can this be, given the millions of dollars that recent bond issues have poured into these schools (Pinckney in particular)? Equity would demand that if Pinckney is to be closed, then Quail Run or Deerfield be put on the chopping block as well. But, it’s said, we can’t do that — it would require kids on the west side to be bused to the east side, while going the other way is apparently no problem. If the problem is a districtwide one, then the pain should be shared, too. All of us are the less when a school closes.

To paraphrase John Donne, when it comes to schools, do not ask for whom the school closing bell rings; it tolls for thee.

Jeff Southard,



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