NEWS BRIEF: Board Extends Fall Break

Emergency meeting is held to discuss extra days off.

Board president Erica Hill speaks at the meeting held Nov. 12.

School is cancelled Nov. 22 and 23. The USD 497 Board of Education voted 5-2 to extend Fall break at an emergency meeting held today. 


Students and staff now have a full week off from school. 


The board cited staff exhaustion, lack of substitute teachers and challenging behaviors of students. 


“It is true, teachers are tired, teachers are stressed, no matter how much they love what they do,” board member and KCK educator Melissa Johnson said.


District-wide, staff have expressed overexertion and increased stress from not being able to take days off due to chronic substitute shortages.


“This is not an ordinary year,” board member Shannon Kimball said. “Mid-year resignations are not something that I ever have seen in my decade of doing this and we have had quite a few this year.” 


Already, ten Lawrence Public School teachers have resigned and left the district. At this rate, LPS is looking at a loss of 20% of their teachers by May. This would double normal years if mid-year resignations continue at this rate. 


Board president Erica Hill and board member Carole Cadue-Blackwood voted “no.” They both cited a concern for a lack of childcare. 


“I couldn’t have voted ‘yes’ with a clear conscience,“ Cadue-Blackwood said. “I do have to consider the physical safety of students who may not have access to childcare.” 


Fall break is now Nov. 22 to Nov. 26.