Lawrence school district’s top 10 budget cuts include axing gymnastics, administrative restructuring

Share this post or save for later

Article last updated at 8:02 p.m. Friday, March 11:

Among the top 10 items Lawrence Public Schools administrators are prioritizing for budget cuts are gymnastics, first aid kits, and a restructuring of administrative staff.

Those three proposals would save $10,332, $15,806, and $400,000, respectively.


The district faces a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall, and the budget must be balanced by July 1. After taking school closures off the table for this year, Lawrence school board members asked district administrators to compile a list of cuts, prioritizing those that would cause the least harm to students.

The district’s budget deficit is estimated between $3.2 and $3.85 million; however, school board members have said they want to cut up to $7 million in order to provide staff raises and rebuild emergency contingency funds.

Here’s the full list of 23 recommended cuts, published to the district’s website Friday evening, along with a chart showing how they stack up. They add up to $6,454,341.

The Lawrence school board will determine which cuts will actually be made, and they are not limited to choosing from the items on this list.

Click here to open the chart in a new tab/see a better mobile view.


The district is also planning to move forward with a Montessori program at New York Elementary School, pending school board approval.

School board members and district administrators heard outcry from students and parents in December when the gymnastics coach who oversees the joint program for both Lawrence high schools informed the team that the district was likely going to cut the program.

In the time since, students have protested the cut, parents have petitioned, and the subject has come up during nearly every school board meeting with a public comment period.

The program amounts to less than 0.2% of the total on Friday’s list of proposed cuts. It’s prioritized as No. 10 on the list.


It was not clear from documentation available Friday evening what exactly the administrative staffing restructuring would entail. At $400,000, it would amount to 6.2% of the latest proposed cuts.

In the past week, however, a school principal, an assistant principal and a district administrator have announced plans to resign or retire, and news releases said the district is evaluating all staffing decisions as part of the school board’s current budget planning process. One possible suggestion to save on costs that has been discussed would be for a single principal to oversee more than one school, though specific schools or positions have not been shared in public meetings.

District staff recommended against the suggestion that administrators whose annual salaries are more than $100,000 take a cut of 5%, however, for the rationale, “Impact to Retention and Recruitment of High Quality Administrators.”

Here’s the full list of cuts that administrators are not recommending, also from the district’s website:


The school board has called a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 for a budget work session. The meeting will not include public comment, according to an email from district spokesperson Julie Boyle.

However, “The board plans to begin making decisions about budget reductions at its next regularly scheduled meeting March 28,” Boyle wrote. “The public may sign up to share input during that meeting by emailing by 6 p.m. March 28.”

Meetings are held at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive. Meetings are open to the public, livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel and broadcast on Midco channel 26. Full meeting agendas are available at this link, usually published the Thursday evening before a Monday meeting.

Don’t miss a beat … Click here to sign up for our email newsletters

Click here to learn more about our newsletters first

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

More coverage: High school gymnastics


More coverage of Lawrence Public Schools:


Previous Article

Lawrence school district plans to move forward with Montessori at New York Elementary

Next Article

In Lawrence murder solicitation case, judge removes attorneys for prosecution and defense