Lawrence school board to consider donation of trees for Cordley Elementary playground

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The Lawrence school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11 at 110 McDonald Drive. Masks are required due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key points the board will:

• Consider approving a donation of two red maple trees from Cordley Elementary parents and community members.


The donation would include installation of the trees on the schools’ playground and is valued at $1,250.  

Context:  Parents Carl Folsom and Karen Ebmeier recently attended a school event and observed with other parents as their children played on the large, open playground at Cordley Elementary, 1837 Vermont St.

“It was very hot, and all the parents seemed to agree that it would be nice if there was more shade for the children,” Folsom told the Times in an email.

The pair rallied the Cordley PTA and asked Principal Becky Reaver whether they could plant some trees on the playground. Folsom said Reaver — and even his coworkers — showed eagerness and generosity toward the project. “They were all excited to invest in our neighborhood and the future of the children of Cordley.”

Folsom and his family pooled together the money they’d collected and visited Lawrence Landscape, where they gladly accepted a discount and purchased two trees. “We picked red maples because they grow well in Kansas, are beautiful in the fall, and they should provide good shade for the Cordley playground for many years to come.”

Folsom said this donation was just the beginning, though. “The Cordley PTA now has a tree committee, which we hope will lead to more trees for the playground in the future.”

As part of the consent agenda, the donation will be considered with other items unless a board member or the superintendent requests an item be removed and voted on separately.

• Meet privately during an executive session to discuss employer contract negotiations.

Context: Near the end of the meeting agenda is a 15-minute executive session with board members and Superintendent Anthony Lewis, Human Resources and Safety Director Ron May, Executive Director of Facilities and Operations Larry Englebrick, and Executive Director of Finance Kathy Johnson. The district’s negotiations team has been in contract talks with the Personnel Association of Lawrence – Communication Workers of America union, which represents hourly workers in the school district.

Find the full 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 6 p.m. Monday. Patrons will receive a link to join the videoconference by phone or video conferencing.

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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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