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Lawrence Public Schools considers school closures, 4 day week

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Lawrence school board received an outline Tuesday night on how to make budget cuts to save money.

The Futures Planning Committee, along with a hired consultant, spent six months doing the research.

“When the cost of the things you need around the house keeps going up and you don’t have enough money for those things, you have to cut back in some areas to be able to afford the things that are your top priorities,” Julie Boyle, executive director of communications at Lawrence public schools.

The district has three priorities for the future: achieving competitive salary for teachers, allocating money for projected rising costs, and balancing profits.

The bigger focus for the district is how it can afford competitive salary for teachers.

“We know the number one thing to successfully educating children is having high-quality teachers in the classroom,” Boyle said.

The committee found that Lawrence Public Schools could reduce several things.

They are considering closing two elementary schools they didn’t name, repurposing a middle school, as well as moving to a 4-day week for students.

During its research, the committee learned that the district’s enrollment is declining and immediate growth is not expected.

“They determined in their forecast for the next 5 years, Lawrence Public Schools will see a decrease of approximately 300 students,” Boyle said. “Well, state funding in Kansas is largely based on your student enrollment.”

But people in Lawrence against school closures and budget cuts are already circulating a petition.

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