In April 2021, the Lawrence school board voted to close Kennedy Elementary School to grades K-5 and use it as an early childhood development center.
In January 2022, Lawrence school district staff proposed scenarios that would involve closures and/or consolidations of multiple elementary schools and middle schools. On Feb. 14, the school board decided to take closures off the table for the coming school year, but difficult budget conversations will continue.
You can find the Times’ coverage of these issues and more on this page. Click here to jump to resources and a map of building changes that had been proposed at the bottom of this page.
The Lawrence school board is set for a special meeting on Monday to discuss cost-cutting proposals as the district faces a budget shortfall estimated between $3.2 and $3.85 million.
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With school closures off the table for now, Lawrence’s Save Our Schools 497 group is now focused on finding a stopgap to make it through the year, looking at the district’s long-term financial health, and ensuring the community’s involvement in these processes.
Lawrence school district staff members have their work cut out for them: Don’t close any schools, and find $7 million in budget cuts that won’t impact students on a daily basis.
The Lawrence school board’s Monday meeting will begin with a 90-minute work session on the budget, then proceed to a regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.
Families and friends of Lawrence neighborhood schools gathered for a rally Saturday at South Park to “Celebrate Our Schools.”
Updated data from the Lawrence school district shows that a plan that includes closing or repurposing five schools would save the district less money than a plan that closes no schools but makes deep cuts to programs.
The Save Our Schools 497 group has hosted community meetings and rallies with more to come soon. But these efforts are just the top layer of organizers’ work, and the enthusiasm shown in these demonstrations is a veneer on top of deep concerns for many families.
The Lawrence school district shared breakdowns of three cost-cutting options during a meeting Wednesday evening — but some of the data was inaccurate.
Months of work by Lawrence school district committees has resulted in three cost-saving proposals formulated by district leadership. School closures remain on the table in two options, and significant reductions to staffing and programs in all scenarios would help fill a multimillion-dollar shortfall.
As conversations continue about how the Lawrence school district can patch its budget shortfall, committee members will use this equity impact analysis tool to examine cost-cutting proposals.
Lawrence school board President Erica Hill has called a special meeting of the board to discuss cost-cutting proposals, which could include school closures.
“Prior to any further discussion about school closures, we call on the school board to create a procedure for best practices when considering school closures and to adopt this procedure moving forward,” Save Our Schools 497 writes in this column.
The board of directors of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance wishes to express concern about the school district’s proposed plans to close community schools, each of which has a rich history and resides in a historic building.
On Wednesday, a group of community members walked from Liberty Memorial Central Middle School to Woodlawn Elementary School to better understand possible implications of proposed school closure scenarios.
• Contact Lawrence school board members
• Facebook group: Save Lawrence Neighborhood Schools
• Facebook page: Lawrence Education Justice Collective
• Website: Save Our Schools
• Lawrence Public Schools Boundary Advisory Committee page (BAC)
• Lawrence Public Schools Budget and Program Evaluation Committee page (BPEC)
• Facebook group: Save Woodlawn Elementary!
• Website: Save Our School – Woodlawn Elementary
Click here to open the map in a new window.