During the first two Davenport School District meetings on the 2013-14 budget and proposed boundary changes at the elementary and middle schools, most people supported keeping open enrollment at the high school level.

That sentiment shifted Wednesday during the third meeting at Harrison Elementary School as the majority of people spoke in favor of strict school boundaries and ending high school open enrollment.

During the fourth meeting Thursday at North High School, the chorus against high school open enrollment grew stronger.

About 140 people gathered in the auditorium at North to hear Superintendent Art Tate talk about his plan for strict boundaries at the elementary and intermediate school levels.

Tate said the plan he will recommend to the school board should alleviate overcrowding at some schools, balance building utilization, gain some transportation savings in the future, and promote the neighborhood and feeder school concept.

In return, Tate got an earful from many people who want an end to open enrollment at the high school level.

Terri Beebe, a reading teacher at Sudlow Intermediate, told Tate that if the district, “doesn’t do something about open enrollment at the high school level, you’re fighting a losing battle. You’re missing the big picture.”

For instance, Beebe said, a huge benefit in setting boundaries will be the pride and loyalty instilled in the students for their schools, from elementary to intermediate to high school.

Several parents said they wanted their children to go to North High School, so their families moved into the district. At North, their children thrived.

Carl Collins, band director at North, said that closing open enrollment would “create a consistency” that would allow the district to better plan programs for the schools.

Rodney Blackwell, a parent who has a child in eighth grade at Wood Intermediate and a daughter at Harrison Elementary, said he wants to keep open enrollment at the high school level “because I want to be able to make the best decision for my kid.”

Blackwell added that, “not everyone has the option economically to build a house or move into the North High School district.”

Davenport school board member Rich Clewell listened intently to each of the speakers.

He said that several years ago, the school board considered closing open enrollment at the high school level. The board members, however, changed direction when they heard from an overwhelming number of people in favor of keeping open enrollment.

“Now, there is a diversity of voices whose opinions are somewhat different than what we heard the last time,” Clewell said.

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.

(22) comments

msboxer

Many people claim that there is no inequity, or that if there is the "lesser" school should improve to attract more students. This sounds good, get better coaches, offer more programs...should be easy, but let's look at the numbers.

Davenport North losses approximately 200 students to open enrollment. Using the district's own budget we see that they spend $6,000 per student per year. Let's assume that $1,000 is used for administration before the money even gets to the school. That leaves $5,000 per student or 1 MILLION dollars a year that should be a part of Davenport Norths budget that is being funneled to other schools.

So tell me how can a school that is having it's students and budget so severely curtailed compete fairly with the very same school/s that benefit from the money taken from North?

Tom Paris

The problem is that North has been getting a raw deal since open enrollment was allowed. I was in the first grad class, after two great years at Central. They lose kids from the East side that live in North's district. With the new proposed elementary/middle boundary changes, the same thing is going to happen, except from the West side. Kids that were going to Harrison and Wood will now go to Adams and Williams. Do you honestly think that these kids will go to their home school, North, when ALL of their friends are going to West? That makes no sense. This is a North vs Central battle. North is flat out hurt by open enrollment. Central people don't care. The perception is that North is a horrible school, Central is the greatest, and then there is some other school on the west side that nobody talks about. It's not equitable. I hope the board does the right thing, but when I read one of them says that this is a free market system and North must do for North, and knowing that there is no way Zamora will close boundaries, I have little faith in them. Quit whining about not having a choice. You do. You can pick Central...just move to their district. After a couple of years of closing boundaries, people will get used to it and the complaining will be at a minimum. Keep them open and the North parents will continue to voice their opinions...because their kids are getting the shaft.

GoBlue1

I think you missed something. I don't think people are complaining about not having a choice now, but going forward. I'm not whining, I'm moving.

MJB

Here’s a novel idea. Leave open enrollment the way it is. Each school has their own strengths. If a school is underutilized find out WHY and fix the problem. If it is because of misinformation then it is a public relations problem with not getting the facts out there. If the problem is in fact a real issue because of true facts. Then address them to correct what is wrong. I WANT A CHOICE. We just had an election where one party platform said we need less government and to stay out of our business, yet we complain to the school board (a governing body) to fix the problem for us by forcing people to go where they DO NOT want to go. If cities outside of Davenport can transfer into a Davenport school then I paying Davenport taxes should be afforded the same. If a high school is underutilized and can’t find solutions other then negatively impacting on another high school, then close it and move those students to the other schools of their choice.

GoBlue1

AMEN!!!

msboxer

So North should not negatively impact other schools, but other schools can negatively impact North by acquiring their students and a large portion of their budget? How can they compete when the very resources they need to improve are given to the schools they compete against?

GoBlue1

Ldw2kids, please don't take this issue so personal. People have a right to choose. I said my son is a good athlete, but never suggested that he is SO good. And I certainly do not believe that I am "larger than God". What that statement had to do with this subject still confuses me. By the way, as I stated before, my son just so happens to be a straight A student. He will definitely have a career in whatever path he chooses. Is it so wrong that he enjoys sports and wants to experience that somewhere else? I certainly respect your right to choose, and refuse to take it personal if your views don't agree with mine. At the end of the day, forcing someone to attend a school that they clearly do not wish to attend, will only cause them to explore other options.

Ldw2kids

It is personnel when you have to defend your actions to go to your home school. My son is also an excellent student and athlete and has school pride. We are just asking for those to move out of our district if they wish to attend another school. That is personnel because there are students that want to attend Harrison but cannot because of open enrollment. Is that fair to a family moving into the area for you to live in a house they could and attend the appropriate school but can't because they are at 100% capacity.

Parents who have bashed North, as you have on here, are the ones that are making this personnel. You are talking about coaches that were there 20 years ago. You are right, there are bad coaches, at every school. There are bad adults, employers, etc. It's what you teach your child to make of the situation when that is brought to them. Yes it is personnel because the parents, students, and faculty at North High School are sick of being talked down to.

Let's just agree to disagree. I want the district to be a strong district PERIOD. My son has friends at Central and if we compete against them I always tell them good job, nice to see you etc. Again it's about building the district because right now we are a joke to everyone around us.

GoBlue1

Point taken. Please do not think that I am bashing North, because I'm not at all. I have a personal observation based my experiences, that's all. I completely agree with you that DCSD is a joke to everyone around us. I have kids that I know that play for Central, West and North, and I cheer them on. Serious changes need to be made in the district, but I personally just feel the closing open enrollment is a good option.

GoBlue1

I meant that closing open enrollment is NOT a good option.

GoBlue1

Wildcat, again the problem is DISTRICT WIDE! No question. North is getting emphasis because I did graduate from there and live in the North boundaries. It is what it is.

wildcat

Then thats what you should of said your first comment, District wide problem . Instead of attacking North. Get your facts straight because North's record in sports in better than Central and West in many areas. Guess what Go blue? What happened at North when you were there is history. New coaches, new students, new admistration, new parents.
Oh yeah! forgot to mention North's state win in Bowling too.

GoBlue1

Wildcat, I have a news flash for you: CENTRAL AND NORTH are BOTH STRUGGLING! It is SAD that we aren't saying that they beat PV, Assumption, NS, or Bettendorf! The only remotely valid point you made was North baseball. Even North volleyball, which used to be strong, hasn't been relevant in years. If that's where you want your kids to attend, that is certainly your choice and I wish them all the best going forward. I can only speak for my family, and we will be in another district.

wildcat

goblue1, North volleyball had a better record than central or west this year and made it to the second game of regionals two years in a row which Central or West did not. You are on the one who made the point that North got plummeled on a consistent basis. My point is Central and West get plummeled to so dont just single North out in your statement.

GoBlue1

ldw2kids, let me be abundantly clear! Yes, I did graduate before that, so there was no option. Second, I am all too clear that Davenport schools have been getting embarrassed by the PV's, North Scott's, and Bettendorfs of the world. I most certainly will not, under any circumstance, move into those schools boundaries. Third, let me give you some history. My sophomore year, our team was State ranked at #10 preseason, only to go 0-10. Junior year, more talent than the year before, and went 4-5 and was embarrassed in having to forfeit a win over Assumption over a coaching error. Senior year, another 4-5 year in which our assistant coach told one of our talented sophomores that he would NEVER play college football. That kid transferred to Assumption and set every rushing record.they had,AND went on to become a starter at the University of Iowa! PLEASE don't make this a point of school pride! I gave blood, sweat, and tears for North, and NEVER had the privilege of experiencing the playoffs, let alone state! Is it SO wrong for me as a father to want my child to experience those things? Do you honestly think that will happen at North? Lack of quality coaching and programs are a major issue district wide! Period. That is the reason why my family will move out of the district. It may not be what you call school pride, but I call it FAMILY pride!

Ldw2kids

Well then I can't wait to watch your child play in the NBA, NFL or whatever sport you claim they are SO good in. And mine will have a successful CAREER because of his education since that is why you send them to school.

You are the alumni that I would never associate with you because you have a larger than God attitude...and honey...you are not!

If you are not in the district then why do you care? Stop commenting on things that have no effect on your family. By they way we have school pride AND family pride. Don't ever claim I don't sir!

dusty11

I know I keep repeating the same thing, but closing the boundaries is going to do nothing for school pride at Sudlow. Are they going to have a North rally one day and a Central rally the next? Half of that school is in the North boundary and half is in Central boundary. Ridiculous.

And I have only been at one meeting, did they speak at the others regarding the fact that Iowa law allows for open enrollment?

TWCDJJ

The Iowa law deals with district to district open enrolling, like say from Bettendorf to Davenport. It does not apply within a school district. I have never heard of another district in Iowa that has this policy of letting kids jump from school to school within the district. Maybe this has something to do with why our district does have issues and is looked at less favorably compared to a Bettendorf or PV. As someone said last night, people see kids on one school's team one year, and another school's next - does not look like we have our act together with kids.

wildcat

First of all to goblue1 I believe North just beat Central in basketball just saying! and I believe that our volleyball team beat Central this year too! Not to mention our baseball team! So obviously we dont get pummeled on a consistent basis and obviously we do have good coaches. That is not mentioning many other successes at North. There are excellent coaches, teachers and staff at North, which my kids are very successful young adults because the role the North staff had in their life.
Go Wildcats!

GoBlue1

I have a son and daughter in the North district, and I myself am a North graduate. I feel that I should have the right to choose the BEST situation for my children. All of this conjecture that strict boundaries will create consistency and bolster feeder schools is ridiculous. What it will do is force families, like ours, to move out of the district to create a better opportunity for our children. My son is in band, chorus, debate, and is a straight A student. He also happens to be a good athlete. I refuse to send him somewhere that he clearly doesn't want to be first of all. Second, I don't want to put him in a situation where he won't receive quality coaching, and will not have the privilege of thriving programmatically. Some people refute the fact that sports is an issue, but the fact is that sports IS a factor for more than a few. Sports teaches discipline, teamwork, and responsibility. It is extremely difficult to have any sort of pride or camaraderie when your teams get pummeled on a consistent basis. I have been in it, so I know what it does. I will give my kids the opportunity that I didn't have, regardless of the proposed strict boundaries!

Ldw2kids

That is exactly why the programs can't be stronger, open enrollment. FYI Central and West get beat pretty bad in some sports to. Make the district stronger, not one school. Even Central is a joke to PV, North Scott and Bettendorf.

Open enrollment started when I was at North and I graduated in '93, oh and by the way our sports programs then were pretty strong. So unless you graduated before that...you had the option. Way to have school pride.

Contemptio

Phebe W. Sudlow would be proud. LOL.

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