Just leave us out of it.

That was the sentiment Wednesday night of about 40 people who live in the Harrison Elementary School district to a school boundary shift that could put them in the Fillmore Elementary School district.

The change is the latest variation of an effort to redraw Davenport Community School District school boundaries.

“This is going to affect property values tremendously,” said Dan Kivlin, who lives on West 60th Street. “Neighbors have put in a lot of time and effort to make this a great neighborhood school.”

Kivlin and other neighbors on 60th and 61st streets talked about the impact of the boundary change during a lengthy public forum held by district administrators.

The district has been working since the fall to recommend boundary changes to the school board in an effort to balance enrollment and alleviate overcrowding at Harrison, Garfield and Washington elementary schools.

Harrison is currently at 99 percent capacity.

Superintendent Art Tate said the district hopes to get each building at 85 percent capacity, which could take four or five year to achieve.

Tate told Wednesday's audience that the board could vote on the recommendations at its May 28 meeting.

The district held six public forums earlier this year to get feedback on the community, which Tate then presented to the board.

After many discussions, the board was in agreement on all boundaries except Harrison and Fillmore.

Under the new proposal, students who live on the south side of 60th Street will go to Harrison and students who live on the north side of the street will go to Fillmore.

Tate said the district could take students from the northeastern part of the district and send them to Fillmore. However, the district has a diversity plan in place to try and balance populations by looking at the number of students who receive free or reduced lunch and by the students' academic achievement.

Fillmore already has a high population of those students, Tate said.

Tate said the plan, which was approved in 2008, has not been closely followed and is something that board will need to look at.

Residents who attended Wednesday's forum expressed concern that their students, who walk less than a mile to Harrison, would have to be bused at least three times that distance or more to Fillmore.

Scott Martin, the district's operation director, said a bus that runs three routes typically costs between $12,000 and $13,000 annually.

Many said they specifically moved to 60th or 61st streets so their children could attend Harrison.

A grandfather clause guarantees that students already enrolled in a certain school can remain there and or students who have a sibling at another school may stay together.

Michelle Collins said she and her husband, Jeremy, bought their house on 60th Street 13 years ago because it was within walking distance of Harrison and other area schools.

A teacher at Harrison, Collins urged the district to address enrollment issues by weeding out students whose parents use false addresses so they can go to a particular school and require students to provide documentation of their addresses.

"Changing boundaries is going to cost a lot of money, and it's a decision that deserves to have all the facts," she said.

Some said it would be easier to go with the district's original plan to cut Kimberly Village from the Harrison district because those students live farther from the school and need to be bused.

(10) comments

kmmdc

I see a rise in parochial school enrollment. To be honest and straightforward, Fillmore has a terrible reputation as a school. My son attends Kindergarten there, and this will be his only year at that school. His teacher is AMAZING, so I cannot speak poorly about the teachers. However, I feel she is very overwhelmed with her students. There are behavior issues in my son's class on a weekly basis. There have been physical fights, objects thrown, and the class has had to leave the classroom because it was "not safe." And these are kindergartners! We have gone to school functions where parents are standing on the cafeteria tables and causing them to break. I was shocked at the behavior of some of the parents. The principal seemed too intimidated to do anything about it. Test scores continue to be ridiculously low at the school. It is time to make the parents accountable. Bringing other children to the school to raise the test score average or decrease the percentage of students receiving free/reduced lunch does absolutely nothing for the students who already attend that school. We had requested a transfer to the North Scott district after we were denied open enrollment to another Davenport school. We were denied the transfer because of the diversity program. My son is a minority who does not receive free/reduced lunch. Of course, this helps Fillmore's statistics, why would they allow him to leave? When we were looking for a home a few years ago, we unfortunately did not research the school district. We are paying the price now...literally. Property taxes keep rising (which I thought helps support the schools) and we are now forced to pay for private school. Fillmore has over 75% of the students on free/reduced lunch. I just found out last week that these students do not have to pay any registration fees either. I know that there are families that are struggling and really have a hard time paying, but I also know that there are some families that qualify for the free/reduced lunch and have game consoles, smartphones, cable, expensive shoes...if parents were held accountable and required to pay at least some amount of registration fees, maybe they would be more inclined to become involved with their children's learning. The main focus needs to be why parents are choosing other schools over Fillmore. Something needs to be done to improve that school and a couple other schools in Davenport. Changing the boundaries will not fix the problem!!

Affected street - W 61st

After reading this article, I’m even more confused by the rationale to send the kids in our neighborhood to Fillmore instead of Harrison.

The article states that:

“The district's original plan [was] to cut Kimberly Village from the Harrison district because those students live farther from the school and need to be bused.”

So – a simple, rational, safe solution with no additional taxpayer expense exists: bus the Kimberly Village students currently bused to Harrison to Fillmore instead.

The article also adds:

“Tate said the district could take students from the northeastern part of the district and send them to Fillmore. However, the district has a diversity plan in place to try and balance populations by looking at the number of students who receive free or reduced lunch and by the students' academic achievement.”

So – another simple, rational, safe solution with no additional taxpayer expense exists: move students from the northeastern part of the Harrison district to Fillmore.

But the reason for this boundary change proposal and why our neighborhood was chosen is because it’s really about reducing the percentage (NOT THE NUMBER) of students receiving free lunch at Fillmore? That is ridiculous. Apparently you assume our children would not be receiving free or reduced lunch, so your percentage will improve. Even if that is true, the same number of current Fillmore students will still be receiving free and reduced lunch – so what has changed? Not their welfare, but your scorecard. And you’re also concerned with “balancing” students’ academic achievement. Apparently you also assume our kids will score better on tests than the current Fillmore students, which will “balance” the low scores of the current students (increase the average). Even if that is true, that doesn’t seem like a plan that considers the best interest of the children. Why not work on improving the scores of the current Fillmore students? If, instead, you claim moving our students to Fillmore will address overcrowding at Harrison, then the simple, rational solutions above both address that. And, what is happening with open enrollment? If that is ending, then there’ll be more room at Harrison for our kids, the ones actually within the current boundary. I also like the suggestion in the article by the teacher in our neighborhood who “urged the district to address enrollment issues by weeding out students whose parents use false addresses so they can go to a particular school and require students to provide documentation of their addresses.” This would obviously also address overcrowding at Harrison, making more room for students actually in the current boundaries.

If this passes, the students in our neighborhood (if we can even allow them to walk) will have to cross two major streets, NW Blvd and Division, and hike three to four times as far as they would have to Harrison. If they take the bus, we (and other taxpayers) will have to foot the bill for additional buses: “a bus that runs three routes typically costs between $12,000 and $13,000 annually.” Here’s money, if not spent busing our children to Fillmore, which could be put to better use improving the educational experience of the current Fillmore students.

We moved to this neighborhood only a year ago BECAUSE of Harrison and the prospect of our young child(ren) attending Harrison. Unfortunately, if this boundary change passes soon, our son is not old enough to enroll this fall and, therefore, wouldn’t qualify for the “grandfather clause”.

If this passes, how about grandfathering in those of us who bought our houses before the decision to change the boundaries was made and carefully considered which grade school our children would attend before purchasing our home?

If this passes and we aren’t grandfathered into allowing our child to attend Harrison, we’ll be looking for a way to pay for private school or move out of Davenport. Neither what we had in mind when we intentionally chose this neighborhood. Perhaps we could be given property tax relief until our kids are out of grade school so we can afford private school, or generously bought out of our homes in order to move. Unfortunately, once prospective buyers with grade school-aged (or grade school-aged-to-be) children learn how far their kids will have to travel to school, they’ll be dissuaded from living here as well. That will also dissuade new development in our neighborhood by families with small children. So, you chase us all out of the neighborhood and replace us with homeowners with no current or prospective grade school children – who is going to attend Fillmore from our neighborhood to lower the percentage of children receiving free lunch and increase your average test scores? Seems like a lot of trouble and expense for this neighborhood so you can attempt to improve your scorecard while ignoring the best interest of all children involved.

pta mom

JB performing arts academy began about 7 years ago--when school borders were tightened and former Grant-school students transferred to Garfield were to not allowed to attend Sudlow (as had been previously allowed).

It was a disaster from the start. They had kids submit videos and applications. But JB had no performing arts instructors on staff--not beyond a part-time brand-new vocal music teacher, who had little experience and even less support. And the administrators were clueless as to how to schedule around or support such a lofty idea.

The "theatrical" performances were singalong stories to canned music. Sets and costumes were provided--the kids/families had to do little to bring it together. No self-discipline or arts discipline was taught. There were no tie-in books--plays, monologues, etc. in the library. In fact, the backsides of the bookshelves were mostly empty--much like the stage sets the kids should have been building.

Instrumental music was (and still is) a before-school activity.

It was a "performing arts academy" in name only. It was an embarrassment and died a quiet death.

ia mom

PTA, when was this JB "performing arts" thing? I've never heard of that so am interested what was tried, when, etc. I do know that this year it is a new program of K-8 and that appears to have been going very well.

Affected street-meadowview lane

It has nothing at all for me to do w/Fillmore itself...to me it's more of a convenience factor for my kids to walk to school & not have to be bused outside our neighborhood. Not to mention, there is no direct route from my house to Fillmore w/out having to cross two major streets...NW Blvd & Division. We chose our house for the neighborhood & school, and I don't think we should be forced to leave our neighborhood for education...that is what we bought into & have put our blood, sweat & tears into developing & cultivating. Bottom line, it's a safety issue & makes no sense financially. Sorry if you think differently.

pamc

I live on one of the streets affected by this new proposal. It makes no sense to bus students from the neighborhood when they can walk to Harrison school. Most of my neighbors bought their homes with this in mind. If the school district is worried about ways to save money, why don't they moves other neighborhoods that already have to be bused to Harrison.

Affected street-meadowview lane

The proposal is singling out just a handful of streets in the entire neighborhood...and our street is located directly behind Harrison & in walking distance for our children. And yet the school wants to spend more money to bus our kids to a school more than 2 miles away & across 2 busy streets....when they could walk on sidewalks w/friends & neighbors along 25 mph roads. It makes no common sense at all...the board is grabbing at straws to try & solve a problem that was created by open enrollment years ago. Harrison is not broken, so don't fix it. Instead, spend the $ you would have spent on extra buses for our kids to create meaningful programs for the kids currently enrolled in Fillmore. Or, take one of the neighborhoods that are currently being bused to Harrison already & just bus them to Fillmore...they don't live directly in the neighborhood behind Harrison. We bought our house for the sole reason that our kids would be able to walk to our neighborhood schools. Once again, this boundary change makes no sense geographically or financially. Please leave our tight-knit neighborhood alone or buy our houses out so that we can move to a district that cares about their families, neighborhood schools & involved parents.

Kaenom18

Why don't you just say the real reason you don't want to go to Fillmore? Because of all those "undesirables" in Ridgeview, High Point, and back in behind the fire station and Machine Shed, perhaps?

Crusader

True about the resources at JB, but the kids and the school have still been successful. I had one kid go to Sudlow and one to JB and the JB experience was far better.

pta mom

The district should ramp up the programs and services offered at the under-used schools, so people will WANT to go there. Washington school has successfully done that. And inner-city/aged-facility Central offers excellent music and TAG programming, which is why it continues to get enrollees from outside its designated boundaries.

JB had a big fail by trying to peg itself as a performing arts school, yet it didn't back up that claim with funding or trained/skilled teachers.

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