School Board Members Remain Undecided – Seek Answers To Consolidation Plans

(BEDFORD) – After an almost three hour meeting on Monday, Bedford North Lawrence school board members remained with unanswered questions and a lot of data and information to scour over before this Thursday.

The Facebook live presentation that was to occur on Monday night didn’t work, so those who could not attend the meeting and wanted to watch the live feed were unable to.

The school board will not have an open-session on Wednesday night as scheduled. The school board will instead meet on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center in order to consider a vote on the proposed consolidation plans.

At this point, the board is still considering the proposals and trying to get answers to questions before making this huge decision.

One of the slides that did not have accurate numbers.

Dr. Ty Mungle provided the members with data, but throughout the meeting, some of those numbers were either inaccurate or incomplete, leaving school board members with unanswered questions.

Dr. Ty Mungle provides information to the school board members

The public was not allowed to engage with the school board members, but many did clap or try to ask questions during the meeting. Several times throughout the meeting Vice President Dr. Kamal Girgis asked the public to refrain from public outbursts.

Projected savings from first year of consolidation

Dr. Mungle says the proposed consolidation will require some construction work at the Bedford Middle School and it will take at least 16 weeks before plans on renovations could be completed. The annex building across the street from the middle school will also need to be renovated.

The building of a new middle school and a large career center are plans for the future. The savings from the school closings will help pay for these future capital projects.

New proposed district lines

Transportation of the students and parking issues at Bedford Middle School are concerns that were expressed by the school board members. Currently, parents park on 15th Street where no traffic can get through during the morning drop off and afternoon dismissals. Adding more students to the area is seen as a major safety concern. When board member Rusty Garrison stated this, the crowd clapped.

The Visionary Committee met in August and completed their work in eight meetings and made three recommendations. During the last school board meeting Dr. Mungle recommended Plan 3 in order to consolidate and close elementary schools. However, school board members are asking about other alternatives to the three proposals like the option of a referendum. Dr. Ty Mugle discouraged school board members against that, saying a referendum would not be a wise decision.