Wittenmyer decision on hold

2013-12-10T05:00:00Z 2013-12-10T05:20:25Z Wittenmyer decision on holdTara Becker tbecker@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times
December 10, 2013 5:00 am  • 

A decision on the future of the relationship between the Davenport Community School District and the Wittenmyer Learning Center was postponed Monday night.

School board vice president Ken Krumwiede said board members want more information about the contract before voting on it. He did not say when the vote could happen.

The next board meeting is Jan. 13.

Last month, Superintendent Art Tate recommended that the district end its 15-year contract with Family Resources, the nonprofit social agency that runs the center.

Tate said ending the contract could save the district $80,970.09.

Wittenmyer educates K-12 students who have emotional, behavioral, learning and mental health issues. The goal of the program is to transition those students back into the school district.

Eighty-eight of the center's 130 students were referred by the Davenport School District.

Family Resources officials have said funding from the school district makes up about 20 percent of its total budget.

The contract with Family Resources ends June 30.

Tate told board members last month that if they decide to terminate the contract, he would like to find a space to educate Davenport students currently at Wittenmyer and students from Kimberly Center West's behavioral program.

That space could be the former Select Medical Property Ventures LLC. building, 3801 Marquette St.

The district is interested in buying the 37,355-square-foot building for no more than $1.95 million if the board votes to end the contract with Family Resources.

The board also shelved a vote on a resolution for the acquisition of the property Monday.

District spokeswoman Dawn Saul said the district has been looking into the property for several months. She said there would have to be renovations done to the interior of the building if the district decides to buy it.

Tate said acquisition of the building and renovations would cost almost $7.94 million, which would come from leftover penny sales tax money.

During Monday's meeting, the board also discussed the 2014-15 budget.

Faced with cuts of between $3 million to $4 million in next year's budget, the district is looking at going back to traditional, seven-period schedules at Central, North and West high schools.

The district held two public forums last month to get input from parents, teachers and students about block versus traditional schedules.

Switching back to traditional schedules could save the district about $1.3 million, officials have said.

District officials urged the board to make a decision at Monday's meeting, but the majority of the members said they did not have enough information to vote.

Krumwiede suggested that Tate gather more information and present it to the board in the spring before the next school year begins.

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(6) Comments

  1. green-eyed monster
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    green-eyed monster - December 11, 2013 8:59 am
    Let's decide what is best for ALL children. It is not fair or right to spend a large portion of the districts funding on a small minority of students at the expense of the majority.
  2. jwilson72
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    jwilson72 - December 11, 2013 8:36 am
    This is a great new School Board. This is the first time in a while that the board has actually listened to the public. I give credit to Dickman and Snyder for stepping up and listening to the public and not just following their own beliefs. I wish Davenport had a person of color on their board but these new people represent Davenport very well. I was on a school board in Colorado for 4 years and it is a difficult thankless job. As far as trying to understand school spending, good luck. There are different funds that spending comes from but the important restrictive fund that cuts have to come from is the general fund.
  3. jleeeps
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    jleeeps - December 10, 2013 12:40 pm
    Please, let's step away from apples and oranges costs considerations - what does it mean for the children who need these services? what is best for the children? based on that evaluation, then determine the most effective and cost effective means to meet the education goals to help the students - including helping their families to be the positive support the children need. The current discussions sound like the children are throw-aways in favor of bureaucratic administrative factors. The school district, schools, and Family Resources should be a strong partnership based on a comprehensive analysis of needs and possible solutions. I look forward to seeing that, made public, before the next school board discussion.
  4. Logos
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    Logos - December 10, 2013 9:30 am
    School finances are not all the same in source or purpose. Saving money from the general fund is possible even while structural investments are made with local option sales tax funds or PPEL funds.
  5. Had it
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    Had it - December 10, 2013 8:39 am
    I'm confused.., save $80k to spend $8 million??
  6. JGross
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    JGross - December 10, 2013 6:35 am
    How is switching back to traditional schedules going to save 1.3 million?
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