Kobza Says Most Of Board Rejects Idea
A new Madison School District report that outlines how Lapham Elementary School students could be moved to the Marquette-O’Keeffe school site has rattled parents and staff, but the School Board member who requested the analysis says she doubts it will go anywhere.
As outlined in the report, the move would free up space at Lapham for other school district programs, including Affiliated Alternatives, which currently rents space on Brearly Street, MSCR (Madison School Community Recreation) programs and a day care facility. An early childhood program would remain at Lapham under the scenario sketched out in the report.
By Susan Troller, The Capital Times, February 16, 2006
Lapham, located on the near east side, serves kindergarten through second-grade students. Third- through fifth-graders in the same attendance area go to Marquette.
The summary analysis, dated Feb. 9, was circulated at a Lapham Parent Teacher Group meeting Tuesday night.
“It absolutely was not something we were expecting,” said Sally de Broux, co-president of the Lapham PTG.
She noted that although the information included in the report was taken from data organized by a parent-citizen task force that studied issues related to under-enrollment in some east side schools, that group’s final recommendations specifically removed school closings from consideration.
A School Board discussion of the East Area Task Force recommendations is scheduled for Feb. 27. De Broux said parents at the PTG meeting felt the report did not comply with the spirit of the task force recommendations and added that it seemed unfair that the report would be circulated before there had been an opportunity to discuss the final recommendations before the School Board.
Lapham parents wondered if the timing of the report was driven by an upcoming deadline for the Affiliated Alternatives program, which rents space for $130,000 per year. Notice for rental agreement termination is due by Feb. 28 of any given year.
The school district did the analysis at the request of School Board member Lawrie Kobza. According to Kobza, she made the request about a month before the task force made its final recommendations.
“I’ve always said all ideas should be considered,” she said. “There should not be certain topics that are off limits.
“In the intervening time, the majority of the board has made it clear where their thoughts are, so I don’t really expect anything to come of this,” she said.
In addition to the East Area Task Force, the board is considering recommendations about school boundary changes from a west side task force.
On the west side, growth and overcrowding are major issues, while in the East High School boundary areas, underenrollment is a concern. The final recommendations of the west side task force include building a new far-west side elementary school and an addition at Leopold School.
Several board members, including President Carol Carstensen, have said they intend to follow the recommendations of both task forces, which were presented last month.