Pinckney News & Notes, 12/2/22

Pinckney Elementary, 810 W 6th, Lawrence, KS 785-832-5800

Upcoming Events


  • 5th Grade Stuffed Animal Drive for Children at 12/5/22- 12/16/22 (see attached)
  • Site Council & PTO Meeting, 12/6/22 @ 6:30
  • Parent Involvement Facilitator meeting, Friday 12/9/22 @ 8:30 (after opener) in cafeteria
  • Last day of 1st semester: Tuesday, December 20, 2022 (full day)
  • First day of 2nd semester: Thursday, January 5, 2022 (full day)

Principal's Message

Hello Pinckney Families!

This week's return after a long break was a great one. Teachers and staff continually commented on the positive actions of our Pinckney Panthers. Another great week to be a Panther!

Please remember that our district's cellphone policy prevents cellphone usage in classrooms. I know that many of our intermediate level students have a cellphone so they can maintain contact with parents as they walk home, but these phones should remain in student's backpacks in their cubbies at all times. If not, we keep their phone safely supervised at the front desk until the day's end.

Also, we know that as the holidays approach toys and trinkets are even more fun to have. However, they are a distraction in the classroom so should remain at home. Our teachers have fidget tools in class that students may use as needed.

Thank you all for your continued support!

Pinckney Site Council Meeting and PTO Meeting this Tuesday 6:30-7:00 and 7:00-7:30

In efforts to reduce evening meeting for our families, we are combining our Site Council meeting and PTO meeting. Site Council is a parent advisory group that meets quarterly to generate input for our school district administrators. Our board member, Paula Vann, will also be in attendance. The main topic of the evening will be the work of the Future's Planning Committee. Below is an excerpt from Julie Boyle regarding the most recent meeting:

The Futures Planning Committee met Wednesday to continue to discuss ways to balance student needs, strategic plan goals, and other school board priorities with the limited financial resources available to the district. Facilitators with RSP and Associates presented results of the recent community survey, including input from 2,682 survey respondents in four languages. The geographic breakdown of respondents was: 25% from the NW quadrant of the district, 14% SW, 13% SE, 12% NE, 5% outside the district, and 31% no answer. The representation of respondents was: 39% parent, 11% district staff, 10% community, 7% student, 6% parent/staff, and 27% no answer. Of survey takers, 1,410 identify as white and 238 as Persons of Color, 102 are Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin, and more than 1,000 did not answer.

RSP cited key takeaways from the survey as respondents prioritizing potential budget reductions in the facilities category (#1 offering buildings with specific programs or themes, #2 making calendar changes, and #3 consolidations/repurposing of facilities, use of grade-level centers, and facilities and operations reductions). Survey takers were unsure of future district enrollment trends, felt that school buildings were not being operated efficiently (59%), and shared that change is necessary (82%) to achieve the board's top three financial priorities: competitive staff salaries, a balanced budget despite rising operational costs, and planning for a healthy contingency reserve fund.

Respondents did not support additional staffing reductions, except to district and/or building administration. They did not support reductions in staffing benefits, such as leave and plan time, except for eliminating Wednesday early release/staff collaboration time. Survey takers also did not support reductions to programs and activities in general; however, more support from that area was shown for cuts to curriculum and instruction and athletics.

RSP & Associates also shared its enrollment projection analysis with the committee. Among key takeaways, RSP forecasts districtwide enrollment will decrease by an estimated 300 students over the next five years for a total enrollment of fewer than 10,000 students (an estimated 9,500) by 2027-2028. Larger enrollment drops are projected at the high school (-150) and middle (-100) levels. The enrollment analysis concluded that district building capacity is being underutilized with facilities operating at 76% capacity at the elementary level, 72% middle school, and 85% high school, yet there is the potential for increased residential development and economic growth in the next ten years.

In small groups, committee members started to brainstorm budget reduction scenarios in three phases over 10 years They calculated total savings in Years 1-3, Years 4-6, and Years 7-10 with estimates from each of the same three financial "buckets" appearing on the survey: staffing, programs, and facilities. For example, consolidating a middle school at an estimated staff savings of $550,000-$650,000 or repurposing an elementary school at an est. staff savings of $300,000-$400,000. Other considerations included reducing elective course offerings (est. staff savings of $65,000 per teacher), reducing the second middle school teacher plan time (est. savings of $1.3 million), changing the school calendar to a four-day school week (est. savings in transportation and substitute costs of $700,000), and further reductions to district administration (est. savings of $127,662 per position) or cuts to building administration (est. savings of $113,455 per position).

The committee next meets on December 14. Follow its work at www.usd497.org/FuturesPlanning.


Informational Title Meeting for Parents next Friday (12/9) after Morning Opener

Pinckney is a Title School! If you are interested in learning more about what that means for our school community, please stick around following Morning Opener on Friday, December 9th for a quick presentation. If that time doesn't work for you, we will also be presenting the information in the cafeteria right after school on that same day!

Friendly Reminder re: Illness Policy

As a friendly reminder, please do not send your child to school if you suspect illness, or if they have had a fever in the past 24 hours. We have experienced a drastic increase in students absent from school due to illness, which will likely continue to increase this winter. Let's all do our part to ensure the health of Pinckney students!