Preview: Lawrence school board meeting, April 26

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The Lawrence school board will meet at 5 p.m. Monday for a work session to provide information on the school district’s budget and the application of COVID-19 pandemic federal relief funding.

The regular meeting follows at 6 p.m. and begins in executive session (meaning it’s closed to the public) for 15 minutes to discuss potential litigation. There is another executive session near the end of the meeting for 15 minutes to discuss negotiations for a fair and equitable contract with possible action to follow.


Below are some noteworthy items from the rest of the agenda.

Key points the board will:

• Review of the district’s equity policy with possible recommendation for adoption at the May 10 board meeting.

↪ Context: As part of the board policy manual, the purpose of the new policy is to provide direction to develop and implement systemwide equity and justice strategies for the district. The agenda memo says “In order to disrupt systemic racism and other forms of injustice that profoundly (impact students’) current and future quality of life, our goal is to advance educational equity by applying a systemic change framework to school governance and resource allocation.”

• Consider an agreement between Lawrence Virtual School and Baker University to provide online dual credit courses in the 2021-2022 school year.

↪ Context: The district started offering concurrent courses to students at Free State and Lawrence high schools with the University of Kansas through the Jayhawk Blueprint partnership in the 2019-2020 school year, but the program has been limited to “brick and mortar” students, according to the agenda packet. Concurrent classes are college courses for juniors and seniors that count toward high school graduation requirements and college credits toward a degree program.

The proposed partnership with Baker University would provide eight courses in an online format. The deal would make LVS the first virtual school in Kansas to offer dual enrollment credit courses, according to the agenda memo.

• Hear a report from staff on the FSHS plan to launch its redesign project during the 2021-2022 school year.

↪ Context: Redesign plans, as part of a statewide initiative, consider input from students, teachers, parents and the community to make learning more personal, engaging and student-focused.

In 2019, the board gave approval for four district schools to participate in the Kansans Can School Redesign Project: Broken Arrow, Deerfield and Hillcrest elementary schools and Free State High School. The program is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Education. Due to the pandemic, the district’s schools chose not to launch redesign this academic year but have used it instead for planning.

Find the board meeting agenda and related documents here.

Watch the live work session and board meeting via livestream here or tune in to Midco Channel 26 at 5 p.m. Monday.

To submit written public comments or to participate via WebEx, email before 5 p.m. Monday. Patrons will receive a link to join the videoconference by phone or computer.

Meeting lingo:

• Consent agenda: A list of a bunch of items that are considered “routine,” so the governing board usually makes one motion to approve the whole list. A member of the public or a member of the governing board can request that an item or items be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion before a vote. This vote usually occurs toward the beginning of meetings.

• Executive session: Closed to the public, generally to discuss pending legal actions or personnel matters. The governing board may or may not take action once the public meeting resumes.

• Regular agenda: Items the governing board will generally discuss or hear during the meeting, rather than approving them with no discussion.

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