Another chapter in the fight to keep Johnson and Grant elementary schools in Davenport open came to a close Tuesday after an administrative law judge affirmed the Davenport Community School District board's decision to close the schools.
But is it the last chapter.
For Alan Guard, one of the parents leading the fight to keep the schools open, it is time to move on. For Brenda Jordahl-Buckles, president of the Johnson PTA, an appeal of the ruling remains an option.
"I'm not going to fight it," said Guard, who has announced his candidacy for one of the two open spots in this year's school board election.
"Clearly, we are disappointed by Judge (Susan) Anderson's ruling," he added. "However, we appreciate her hard work in making a very difficult decision and we will respect her ruling."
He said by making the district aware of the Barker Guidelines — a set of procedures Iowa school districts must use to involve the public in a decision to close a school — "we did something to help protect the rights of all the parents in the district. Everyone will benefit from this."
"I'm very, very disappointed," said Jordahl-Buckles, saying that her group is considering another appeal. An appeal must be filed within the next 20 days, according to the Iowa Department of Education.
"At this time, with the ruling just coming down, we're trying to absorb it," she said. "This ruling does not change what I believe in, and I believe in small, neighborhood schools."
"This goes beyond Johnson and Grant. They think it's a quick fix, and it's not. It sets a terrible precedent."
Superintendent Jim Blanch said the road to this decision has been equally rough for everyone, including him.
But long before the ruling, the district's focus had changed to helping the students adjust to their new environments, and helping parents adjust to the change, he said.
"These are our families," he said. "They are our parents, our students. We're working with every family to help them make the transition and to visit their new school. And through the summer, we will communicate with people to let them know the doors are open.
"It won't be long before people realize that the schools the students are going to have just as caring staffs and communities as the schools they are leaving," he said.