Heather Johnson does not doubt that the Davenport School District should change school boundaries to make them more equitable.

But speaking to Superintendent Art Tate before about 80 people Wednesday at Harrison Elementary School during the district’s third meeting on the 2013-14 budget and boundaries, Johnson said the redistricting plan must consider the percentage of students at each school who receive free or reduced lunches.

Tate would like each elementary school as close as possible to 85 percent of capacity. Several already are at 100 percent while others are under 75 percent. The schools would feed students into specific middle schools.

The proposed plan, Johnson said, “seems to be so tightly drawn that it would cause poor schools to remain poor, and that poverty would extend to the middle school, and then to the high school.”

At least one of redistricting proposals proves Johnson has a point.

Monroe and Hayes elementary schools would be the only two to send students to Frank L. Smart Intermediate under Tate’s proposal. As of the 2011-12 school year, Monroe had 89.1 percent of its students on free and reduced lunch while Hayes had 80.5 percent on free and reduced lunch, according to statistics from the Iowa Department of Education. Both schools currently are below 85 percent utilization. Smart, during the 2011-12 school year, had 78.6 percent of its students on free and reduced lunch, according to the Iowa Department of Education. Smart’s building utilization is currently 54 percent.

Maintaining open enrollment at the high school level also was supported by a number of speakers.

Also during the meeting, the district’s chief financial officer, Marsha Tangen, outlined plans to cut up to $3.126 million from the 2013-14 school budget.


(18) comments


Having attended all three meetings this week, I did not see any of these things as arguments against another persons comments as ia mom mentions here. In fact in most cases I thought everyone was very careful about respecting the opinion of others. They are simply a person's point of view or in some cases I believe there were facts about each of the schools (ie - numbers of actual tardy students at each school, numbers of students chosen to All-State, percentages of students scoring well on the AP Calc exam etc) I saw this as a way to recognize that all the schools have positive things going on in them, and as a way to present a picture of why the playing field does not seem equal to some.
Again, as I recall they were facts, not arguments in response to the student who spoke. It may have seemed that way but don't think that was the intention. It was the intention to make people knowledgeable about the facts rather than assume things that are not true.

And while there were some conversations going on around the room, I don't recall ANY of them being louder than any of the speakers. There were many places to sit and it is unfortunate that ia mom did not move to another place where she could hear or politely ask that others not talk so loudly if it was bothering her. Having taken the initiative to correct the problem at that time would have been a good solution. (Speaking of role models and appropriate conduct!)

And to Mr Geyer. It is unfortunate that you did not hear the real message going on in the cafeteria at Harrison or you might have reported it accurately!

At any rate...kudos to the Board and Dr Tate for opening these discussions to the community. No one decision will make everyone happy. What is most important is doing what is best for our District and ALL students so that our kids and families everywhere look to Davenport as a place they WANT to send their kids no matter which school they would attend. It will not be an easy decision and the Board y should be commended for bringing these discussions to the forefront. Hopefully they have listened to the people who elected them!


If the school district wants to close the boundaries, perhaps they need to redraw the boundary lines so they aren't splitting up children who have attended school together from kindergarten through 8th grade and forcing them to separate high schools. Thirteen and fourteen is a vulnerable and insecure time in a child's life. A time when much of their life revolves around friendships. Of course a child is going to choose to stay with their friends after eighth grade, and continue on to the same high school.

Davenport elementary and intermediate schools could do a better job supporting their high schools if they each had ONE to identify with. Not half of the school moving on to one high school and the other half moving on to a separate high school.


I am for NO open enrollment but agree with you. I think what happened is they had these boundaries drawn before the area North of 53rd and East of Eastern was growing. I think it would be hard for those kids to be seperated. And Eisenhower and Sudlow pushes Central spirit because they should. I think they really would need to figure out that area.

And honestly we should all be PROUD of every Davenport school. Even though there are 3 Davenport high schools...they all represent what Davenport is!

We have kids that live within walking distance of Wood that are being told they would have to go to Williams..that doesn't make sense to me either. The board needs to look at these things closer and they seem to have not done that in my opinion.


I agree, and by the turnout at the forums so far, it is clear that Davenport families are involved and concerned with their children's education and opportunities. I have no problem sending my children to NHS. I only have a problem with being forced to separate them from their friends and classmates of many years. I do think we would see a lot less open enrollment if the middle schools weren't split like they are.


I completely agree, very hard to "split up" friends that you have one has had since Kindergarten. Kids choosing to "stay together" is major problem that is driving students away from North currently. But the fact is that somewhere change does need to happen. Change is never easy, but sometimes necessary. Somewhere one of the 5 Intermediates that send kids to West and Central are going to have to make a change, as only 1 Intermediate feeds into North. There is a elementary that feeds into Subdlow which 75% to 80% of the attendees live in the North boundary. That may be a place to look. That would be one way to help keep these classmates together.


How about building a elementary and Jr High School north ot Kimberly and east of Eastern Ave. Those kids could go to school with their friends from K through 12 and not be torn to have to make that decision. My children all went to Eisenhower, Sudlow and Central... Why??? Cause that was where their friends were going... Friends who lived North and South of Kimberly Road. .
It would seem to make sense to build a school in an area where the current population of Davenport is migrating too. Right now, only Harrison, Jackson, Fillmore and Truman and are north of Kimberly and none of those schools are east of Brady St.. A new school in that area would drive up property values and would also reduce the need for busing those kids who live in that area one of two miles to attend Eisenhower and Sudlow. If there is money to build a casino which in my opinion is a total waste of money, wouldnt it be better suited for the future of Davenport to build a couple of schools where they are so badly needed.


I attended both the meetings at Central and Harrison. I will agree Central's meeting heavily favored keeping the open transfer policy, except for three people that spoke, including myself, who favor everyone going to their home school. The Harrison meeting was a complete contrast to the Central meeting, in that parent after parent got up and spoke of closing the boundaries down to get everyone on a level playing field and do what is best for ALL students of the district, not just a portion. I was extremely DISAPPOINTED then of the coverage the reporter gave the Harrison night. An overwhelming majority of the speakers asked for the Board to close the boundaries, and the reporter only mentioned the few that asked to keep them open. I found this to be completely negligent in reporting. It possibly had to do with the fact that he missed over half of the discussion concerning the boundary. I thought a reporter was supposed to document all facts. Whatever your feelings are on the issue, I think we can all agree that an accruate reporting of a meeting is something we all want. It is not right that so many people had the courage to get up and speak and if you read the article, it was like it never happened.


I am not surprised by what I read. I watched the reporter pull this woman he interviewed out into the hallway. He was absent from the meeting for a half hour...a half hour of an hour and a half forum. I said to the person next to me, "Watch tomorrow's paper will read how everyone is for the changing of boundaries and how everyone wants to keep open enrollment." I am very disappointed in the reporting of this article. I have always heard that the QC Times was biased, but I was still shocked to see it firsthand. I'm sorry the reporter didn't do a better job of listening. Hopefully the school board is doing a better job of listening, and not just going into this with their minds made up.


There is a definite problem, the open enrollment throughout the entire district has gotten out of control. Something needs to be done about it. At the forum last night, there were a number of attendees in favor of open enrollment, the number was 4, including 3 Cental students that did a great job sharing their opnion and personal stories. But more than twice that amount voiced the opinion that there needs to be equality among the high schools and that starts with ending open enrollment. There are also many, many more attendees who turned in written statements as to the desire to end open enrollment.

Equality is the main reason the School Board wants to change and enforce the K-8 boundaries. With the numbers presented by the board, currently West has an enrollment of 1819, Central 1418 and North 899. Without the Open Transfer Policy West enrollment would be 1824, Central 1206, and North 1106. Equality for the K-8? But that doesn’t matter for the High Schools? The numbers look much more equal with the Open Enrollment Policy ended. This would help allow for a better education experience of ALL students. There should be no schools that are “more important” than the others.

ia mom

This article is not accurate as far as what I heard during the forum. There were many topics covered by the speakers, but most who spoke about high school open enrollment requested that it be discontinued. However, I will also admit that I'm not sure about what all the speakers spoke about because in the area of the room where I was speaking it was sometimes difficult to hear the speakers, due to the rude adults carrying on their own loud side conversations. Way to role model to the high school youth about appropriate conduct! And I found it especially interesting that one speaker got up to argue with what one of the students had said, but yet I couldn't hear most of that student's comments because she was continually talking throughout his remarks--so I don't know how she could think that she heard his remarks sufficiently to argue with his points. Very interesting hearing all around--thanks to the school board for the opporutnity and sorry so many community members blew it my either missing it entirely, or talking through it so that others trying to participate couldn't.


I agree with the need to enforce boundaries at the elementary level, to keep schools from overcrowding (Harrison & Garfiled). At the high school level, I am torn, considering their current boundaries and division of intermediate schools. And I believe it is pointless anyway, as Iowa law allows for open enrollment for high school, as long as a school is not filled to capacity -none of Davenport's are.


Thank you very much for the article but your second to last para abt the # of folks who spoke in favor of or not in favor of open enrollment is completely inaccurate.

I was in attendance and by my count 3 students from Central spoke in favor (2 of them spoke twice and kudos to them for speaking). However, at least 8 speakers spoke in favor eliminating the open enrollment option.

As a professional journalist, I would think you would report both sides and stay unbiased.


Let's face it. Those who don't want redistricting don't want their kids to interact with the "poor" students. Tough I say - your kids will be much more open minded about other classes as a result.


I am not quite sure you know what you are talking about when you feel people who are against redistricting are doing so because they dont want their kids to associate with poor people. First of all, what school are you talking about? Central? There are kids from all socio economic levels who attend Central. Rich kids mingle with the poor kids, black, asian and hispanic kids with white kids. Its been that way for years. The kids at Central are exposed to kids different than them at a very early age. Central has always been a melting pot. I can't speak for West or North. But to say that the parents are against redistricting because they might have to be exposed to poor kids is just not true.


In your opinion...


I agree with QCA Mom definately a pro-closure of the boundries crowd. The TV news was quick to cover the forum at Central but ignored this one almost completely except for a brief mention on kwqc in which they showed video of the Central forum and not Harrison at all. Hopefully the coverage by the papers and the TV news will be fair and unbiased with the forum being at North tonight but I doubt it.


I attended the meeting last night and there were 3 people who voiced that they would like to see open enrollment kept, all 3 being 16 year old high school students from Central. Countless adults voiced the need for open enrollment to end to equal the playing field.

Please start paying attention before you write your articles and get your facts straight. You make untrue statements that affect people's thoughts and decisions. This is the reason many people have stopped subscribing to your paper.


"Maintaining open enrollment was also supported by a number of speakers" ?? With all due respect Mr. Geyer, you must not have been at the same meeting that I attended, or you missed a majority of comments as you were interviewing Ms. Johnson or left before everyone was finished speaking. The sentiment at this forum definitely supported closing the boundaries at the high school level as well as at the elementary and intermediate levels!

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