Lawrence school board to consider new boundaries following their vote to close two schools

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The Lawrence school board on Monday will consider new boundaries that assign all Broken Arrow and Pinckney elementary students to new schools as well as shift nearly 100 students out of three other schools.

The school board during their meeting on March 27 voted 4-3 to close Pinckney and Broken Arrow elementary schools after the end of this school year as part of a budget cut plan. 

During their meeting on Monday, board members will learn about a proposal for new boundaries created by the district’s Boundary Advisory Committee and consultant RSP & Associates, whom the district hired in the fall on a $120,000 contract.

The proposed new boundaries assign Pinckney and Broken Arrow students to their new schools, which in turn move around some students at other schools to account for the redistribution.

Under the proposed boundary changes, most Broken Arrow students would be assigned to attend Schwegler and Cordley, and others would attend Langston Hughes, Prairie Park and Sunflower. The distribution breakdown of 223 Broken Arrow students includes:

96 students would attend Schwegler;
69 students would attend Cordley;
30 students would attend Langston Hughes;
15 students would attend Prairie Park; and
13 students would attend Sunflower.

Pinckney students would be assigned to Deerfield and Hillcrest. The distribution breakdown of 169 Pinckney students includes:

124 students would attend Deerfield; and
45 students would attend Hillcrest.

Students at some schools that are not going to be closed will also be affected. Under the plan:

13 Cordley students would transfer to Hillcrest;
30 Hillcrest students would transfer to Quail Run;
20 Deerfield students would transfer to Sunset Hill; and
30 Deerfield students would transfer to Woodlawn.

According to presentation materials included in the meeting agenda, administrators recommend allowing current third and fourth graders — next year’s fourth and fifth graders — who have younger siblings currently attending the same school together. They have the choice to stay at their current schools or attend their new schools and will automatically be approved to transfer. Those students’ families should complete transfer request forms that will be available after the boundaries are finalized, according to the presentation in the meeting agenda.

All other families will need to go through the district’s transfer request process if they want to move their students to schools they were not assigned to.

Here’s the full presentation from Monday’s meeting agenda. See the full-size map at this link.


In other business:

• Staff survey report: The district’s Human Resources (HR) staff on Monday will present to the board results and information gained from two platforms — Educator Perceptions and Insights Center (EPIC) and Panorama Education — used to survey staff. The goal is to address areas of concerns among staff and help the district with its recruitment and retention, according to the presentation included with the agenda item.

Past survey results as well as ongoing survey efforts with both platforms will be discussed as part of the presentation. 

View HR’s presentation at this link.

• Bond refunding: David Arteberry, of Stifel Public Finance, on Monday will present to the board a recommendation to refund the 2013 and 2014 general obligation bonds that funded remodeling and construction at the district’s elementary schools (including about $8.53 million spent on projects at the two schools that are closing).

Arteberry will present “refunding of the district’s 2013 and 2014 general obligation bonds with an approximate savings of $3.9 million, at this time,” according to the agenda item. “… By refunding these bonds with a lower interest rate, our bond and interest payments would decrease, resulting in savings to our Bond & Interest fund. It would not provide savings to our General operating funds.”

View the analysis at this link.

After receiving the board’s feedback, Artberry will present a resolution for the board’s potential approval during their Monday, April 24 meeting, according to the meeting agenda.

The school board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, April 10 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.

To give public comment during the board meeting, sign up before the meeting starts either in person or by emailing Commenters may request to participate by Webex video/phone conferencing.

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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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