Lawrence school district boundary committee’s ‘baseline’ plan would shift several elementary schools’ boundaries

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A proposal for new school boundaries will set the foundation for which schools elementary students may be assigned to next year, including possible changes for students whose schools are not facing possible closures.

The Boundary Advisory Committee on Wednesday evening looked at two proposed “concepts” presented by RSP & Associates — the consulting firm the district hired on a $120,000 contract to assist its budget process — for new elementary school boundaries if Broken Arrow and Pinckney elementary schools close.

Public hearings on both proposed school closures have been scheduled for Saturday, March 25. (Click here for more info about the hearings.)

The committee chose to move forward with the second of two concepts, agreeing that Concept 2 would cause “less disruption to the whole system” than Concept 1.

According to the proposed boundaries in Concept 2, Broken Arrow students, if their school is closed, would transfer to five elementary schools. 69 Broken Arrow students would be assigned to Cordley; 16 to Langston Hughes; 15 to Prairie Park; 90 to Schwegler; and 27 to Sunflower.

Pinckney students, if their school is closed, would transfer to three elementary schools: 123 Pinckney students would be assigned to Deerfield; 39 to Hillcrest; and one to Woodlawn.

Additionally, 13 Cordley students would be assigned to Hillcrest, 20 Deerfield students would be assigned to Sunset Hill, and 30 Deerfield students would be assigned to Woodlawn. 

Students currently at Hillcrest, Langston Hughes, New York, Prairie Park, Quail Run, Schwegler, Sunflower, Sunset Hill and Woodlawn would not be asked to move, though RSP & Associates CEO Rob Schwarz said there could be room to move more kids around to better “balance out” the schools, such as moving students from Sunflower into Quail Run and moving more students into Langston Hughes, for example.

English Language Learner (ELL) students would continue to attend the sites where their programs are rather than based on where they reside, with the exception of Broken Arrow and Pinckney students. All Pinckney ELL students would attend Hillcrest, and all Broken Arrow ELL students would attend Schwegler.

Though they didn’t agree with every aspect of the scenario, committee members said they liked Concept 2 because it moves around less students. 443 students would be expected to move schools with the changes in Concept 2, and 666 students would be expected to move schools with Concept 1. They also said they liked how it moved some kids into Woodlawn, as Woodlawn has been underutilized.

The committee will use Concept 2 as a “baseline” to build upon moving forward, Schwarz said at the end of the meeting. Its final proposed boundaries are to serve as recommendations to administrators, who will then make a proposal to the school board.

The new boundaries must be made available by the time the official notices of public hearings are published. In order for the district to meet its legal obligations with notices of hearing scheduled for March 25, it must publish the first legal notice within this week.

Since next week is spring break, the Boundary Advisory Committee will not meet on Wednesday. Rather, its next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22 at the district’s Facilities & Operations Campus, 711 E. 23rd Street, Building A.

The committee is then scheduled to report back to the school board on Monday, March 27, when the board will be asked to make a final vote on the 2023-24 budget plan, including school closures.


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

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