Lawrence school board to consider new elementary boundaries, hear report on 4-day weeks

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The Lawrence school board on Monday will consider approving new boundaries for next year that will reassign students from four elementary schools, two of which the board voted to close at the end of this school year.

Elementary school boundaries must be adjusted to accommodate for closures of Pinckney and Broken Arrow elementary schools next year. RSP & Associates, the consultant group the district hired on a $120,000 contract to assist in its budget process, along with the district’s Boundary Advisory Committee (BAC) have been working to create new boundaries that will assign Pinckney and Broken Arrow students to new schools while also moving around students at some other schools.

Board members during their meeting on April 10 provided feedback to the BAC’s first boundary plan. RSP & Associates and the BAC made revisions to the plan and on Wednesday came to a consensus on a final recommendation to the board.

Under the new recommendation, students from four elementary schools would be reassigned, rather than the previously recommended reassignments from 11 elementary schools.

If the school board approves the BAC’s new recommended boundary plan:

69 current Broken Arrow students would be assigned to Cordley, 43 to Langston Hughes, 15 to Prairie Park, and 96 to Schwegler;
40 current Pinckney students would be assigned to Deerfield, and 129 to Hillcrest;
30 Hillcrest students would be assigned to Quail Run, and 35 to Sunset Hill; and
13 Cordley students would be assigned to New York.


As the school board requested after reviewing the BAC’s initial recommendation, the revised recommendation expands New York’s boundary, keeps Deerfield students who reside north of Interstate 70 in the Deerfield boundary rather than assigned to Woodlawn, assigns more Pinckney students to Hillcrest instead of Deerfield, and more.

Visit this link to read more about the BAC’s final recommendation.

Here’s the revised data from Monday’s presentation for the board:


Four-day weeks for students

The district’s calendar committee will present to the board their work on a four-day student/five-day staff week, which will not be implemented next year but may be considered for future years.

The report suggests Mondays as the day students would not attend, in part because of the numerous federal holidays that occur on Mondays. The change would eliminate Wednesday early dismissals.

The report says the change could save approximately $2 million in the district’s budget, based on numbers from the Futures Planning Committee meeting materials, with $700,000 estimated in savings for transportation and substitute teachers, plus $1.3 million by eliminating the need for a second plan time for middle school teachers.

The report also notes some potential challenges, such as securing child care, providing meals to students who need them and more.

Here’s the calendar committee’s presentation for Monday:


In other business:

• Staff retention and recruitment: During the board’s last meeting, the district’s Human Resources (HR) staff presented part one of their work on staff retention and recruitment, including climate surveys administered to teachers and staff members. Results of one survey, administered in the fall of 2021, showed Lawrence teachers largely feel “disengaged” with their jobs.

The HR staff on Monday will give part two of that presentation to the board. Visit this link to view HR’s presentation.

• New social-emotional learning curriculum: District administrators will present to the board on the district’s social-emotional learning curriculum. They’ll ask the board to approve the purchase of a new social-emotional learning tool, CharacterStrong, for grades pre-K through 12. If approved, the CharacterStrong partnership would include a two-year contract in the amount of $70,386 to be paid for with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER, or federal COVID-19 relief) funds, according to the meeting agenda.

Visit this link to view the presentation for Monday.

The school board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, April 24 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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