Lawrence school board to hear budget update

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The Lawrence school board on Monday will review updates and details on the district’s budget for next year.

Executive Director of Finance Cynde Frick will lead Monday’s presentation to the board, according to the meeting agenda.


“We will review the 2022/23 KSDE (Kansas State Department of Education) audit, legislative changes and timelines for the 2023/24 budget, and cash balances,” according to the meeting agenda.

No further information about the update or supporting documentation was included in the meeting agenda as of Sunday morning.

The school board this year approved a series of cuts, including two elementary school closures, 50 full-time middle and high school teacher position cuts, a switch from MacBooks to iPads for high schoolers and more.

The school board’s top priority spurring budget cuts has been to achieve competitive wages for staff. The district’s union for classified staff, PAL-CWA, on Thursday agreed to a $2.12 base raise to hourly wages, equating to about $2.58 million in the district’s budget.

In other business:

• Farm 2 School report: District staff in the curriculum and instruction and nutrition and wellness departments on Monday will give the school board an update on Farm 2 School, a program that feeds students knowledge about nutrition and wellness. This past year was the first year all 21 schools within the district had gardens on campus, which aid hands-on, outdoor learning.

The program helps “teach children where their food comes from and how food fuels their bodies” and “enhances classroom education through hands-on learning,” according to the presentation for Monday.

See the full presentation attached to the meeting agenda.

• Executive session: Monday’s meeting will conclude with a 30-minute executive session, or closed-door meeting, where the board and district administrators will discuss salary contract negotiations for employees, according to the agenda.

The personnel report, the document that lists employee retirements, resignations and new hires in every regular school board meeting agenda and is typically posted at the time the agenda is published, was not included in the agenda as of Sunday morning.


• CharacterStrong consultants: As part of the consent agenda — a list of items that are generally considered routine and approved in one vote — board members will consider authorizing $26,000 for consultants to lead a two-day conference ahead of districtwide implementation of CharacterStrong, a new social-emotional learning tool.

The contract would be paid with federal Title IV funding, which is intended to “programs that prevent violence and the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs in and around schools,” according to KSDE. “Schools and districts are to involve parents and coordinate with community efforts in developing these programs. The goal is to foster a safe and healthy learning environment that promotes student academic achievement.”

The school board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, June 12 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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Kaw Valley Almanac for Dec. 11-17, 2023

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