Lawrence school board to consider approving capital improvement plan

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The Lawrence school board on Tuesday will consider approving the district’s five-year capital improvement plan with about $17.3 million in expenditures budgeted for the 2024-25 year.

The capital outlay fund includes taxes and proceeds from the sale of district property and equipment. Its funds can only be spent on certain things, and generally not on staff salaries or ongoing expenses.

About half of the $17.3 million budget for 2024-25 would be spent on facilities; about 27% on technology; 9% on equipment and furniture and the remainder on trade wages, schools’ discretion, instruction and activities/athletics, according to the agenda item.

Building improvements listed in the agenda report include rooftop HVAC units at Kennedy Early Childhood Center and Cordley Elementary School, boilers at Langston Hughes Elementary School, and roof repairs at Langston Hughes, Cordley and Sunflower Elementary School.

Any items or projects costing more than $20,000 will be bid and come back to the school board for final approval, typically on the board’s consent agenda.

Learn more on the report attached to the agenda item.

In other business

• New math curriculum: The board will also consider approving the district’s purchase of a new elementary math curriculum aimed at providing more effective strategies for teachers to teach math.

According to the meeting agenda item, Open Up is based on problem-solving. Having utilized the curriculum, Math Expressions, since 2012, the district began its curriculum review process in fall 2023. The math curriculum team researched evidence based resources and chose two to be piloted. More than 70 educators from five schools participated in the pilot this spring.

If approved, the district will pay $228,464 from its instructional resource budget during the 2023-24 school year and then pay the remaining balance of ​​$485,385 during the 2025-2026 school year. There were no alternative curriculum options noted in the agenda.

Learn more on the agenda item.

• Fee increase for annual audit of district: There’s a 3.5% fee increase from last year to this year for the firm that audits the district.

The board will consider approving Gordon CPAs to perform an audit for the period ending June 30, 2024 at a cost of $24,850 as well as a single audit cost of $2,600 per major program, according to the meeting agenda item. The district anticipates it will have two major programs.  

“An independent audit of school district finances is required every year under state statute, and in compliance with the single audit requirements for federal funds,” the agenda item says.

If approved, the cost is to be paid for from the board’s audit services budget.

Learn more in the agreement letter attached to the meeting agenda item.

• Board policy edits: Two board policies are up for the board to read Monday. A new proposed policy would allow district administrators, rather than board members, to determine credits students can receive for online courses.

A policy change suggests edits to wording to say building principals should only release students during the day if they have a written or verbal request from the student’s legal parent or person acting as a parent. The policy change removes a line stating that “except that the student may be released to law enforcement authorities if the student has been placed under arrest or taken into custody by law enforcement or Department for Children and Families (DCF).”

Both policy readings are on the board’s consent agenda — a list of items routinely approved in one motion unless a board member or the superintendent requests to pull an item for further discussion. 

• Executive session: Monday’s meeting will begin with a 30-minute executive session, or closed-door meeting, to discuss employee contract negotiations. The board, Superintendent Anthony Lewis, Cynde Frick, Kristen Ryan, Megan Epperson, Larry Englebrick and Kevin Harrell will be present. No action is set to follow.

The school board meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 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 on BoardDocs, via

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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