Preview: Lawrence school board meeting, June 14

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The Lawrence school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, June 14, at 110 McDonald Drive. Public attendance is welcome but could be limited due to COVID-19 safety measures. Temperature checks, masks and social distancing will be required.

The meeting begins with an executive session (meaning it’s closed to the public) for 15 minutes to discuss personnel matters with possible action (meaning a vote) to follow. The agenda includes another executive session at the end of the meeting for 20 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 meeting agenda.

Key points — the board will:

Hear an update from district staff about the transition of students from Kennedy Elementary.

↪ Context: At its April 12 meeting, the school board voted to convert Kennedy Elementary to an early childhood community center. Materials in the agenda packet show transition tours were arranged for Kennedy students to view their new schools in May. In addition, Kennedy teachers held virtual meetings with teachers from the receiving schools to discuss students’ strengths and potential areas of growth. Staffing decisions for Kennedy employees have been made. Boys & Girls Club has agreed to implement a morning program at Prairie Park Elementary in the fall to assist families who need before-school care, including former Kennedy students who can no longer walk to school. The district has sent requested data to the city of Lawrence in order to apply boundary changes to the Safe Routes to Schools plans for the receiving schools — Prairie Park, Cordley and New York elementaries.

Consider recognizing the Personnel Association of Lawrence – Communications Workers of America as the bargaining unit for all classified employees.

↪ Context: PAL-CWA has petitioned the board for recognition as the bargaining unit for all classified employee groups. Examples of classified hourly employees include paraprofessionals, custodians, secretaries, electricians, and maintenance and food service workers. The card check recognition procedure agreed to by the board involves a neutral party to verify that a majority of employees in the proposed bargaining unit have expressed that they favor recognition. A memo from the agenda packet says the card check has been completed, and the neutral party’s certification of majority support among the bargaining unit employees was provided May 26.

Hear a report from district staff on social-emotional learning and behavioral health programming. 

↪ Context: The report is expected to provide information about programming and the benefits the district is experiencing from the initiative. Each of the district’s 21 buildings has a mental health team that promotes mental health services and educates staff on mental health issues.

Below are some other noteworthy items from the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are considered altogether in one vote unless a board member or the superintendent requests that an item be removed and voted on separately.

The board will consider the approval of the launch of “flex mod” scheduling at Free State High School for the 2021-2022 school year.

Context: 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. Flexible modular scheduling gives students options of additional study time and choices for activities by breaking up school days into smaller time periods, according to a presentation about redesign during the April 26 board meeting.

The board will consider the approval of a memorandum of understanding between the school district and the city of Lawrence for Safe Routes to School.

↪ Context: Safe Routes to School is a national program that aims to improve walking and biking for kids. Since 2019, community stakeholders have gathered input to develop mapped routes and strategies for walking and biking citywide. An MOU is necessary, according to a memo in the agenda, to formalize how the school district and city will work together on the initiative and establish a working group between plan updates, the first of which will occur in 2025. Find the Lawrence plan here.

The board will consider a contract with BG Consultants to start engineering a construction plan at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School.

↪ Context: LMCMS administration has identified the area between the school and 14th Street as an area of concern for student safety. The plan would make modifications to the pick-up area in the parking lot on the north side of the building. The board will also consider use of donation funds from the Durham Family Fund for the engineering and permitting of the project. Construction costs for the project and bids would come back to the board for later approval and would also be paid with Durham Family donation funds.

Find the board meeting agenda and related documents here.

Watch the live board meeting via livestream here or tune in to Midco Channel 26 at 6 p.m. Monday.

To sign up to share public comments in person or via WebEx, email before 5 p.m. Monday. Patrons will receive a link to join the videoconference by phone or computer.

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