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Davenport Community School District to remain under state control, though less than before
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Davenport Community School District to remain under state control, though less than before

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Davenport Community Schools Logo

The new Davenport Community Schools logo. 

State control of the Davenport Community School District will continue at least until March, though some of the requirements were relaxed Wednesday.

The district is working with the Iowa Department of Education to address citations the district received from the state. Those citations concern a number of issues, including providing equitable education for Black students. The effort is under the oversight of the Iowa State Board of Education.

The school district has been under the state board’s direct control since October 2020. The department of education recommended that direct control, arguing the district was not making enough progress on addressing the issues underlying the citations.

The state education board voted Wednesday afternoon at its regular meeting to continue direct state management of the district in several areas while relaxing others at the recommendation of the department of education.

These were the state education department’s recommendations presented Wednesday:

  • TJ Schneckloth, Davenport’s superintendent, will continue to answer to the state rather than the district’s elected board.
  • The district administration will meet with state officials and/or the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency to work on the citations. For one aspect, those meetings are quarterly, and for another, monthly.
  • The state will make spot checks to verify the extent to which the citations are being addressed.
  • The district no longer has to contract with Gary Sinclair, the financial advisor with whom it has been working as part of its citation efforts.
  • The district will not be allowed to contract with a third party to help it manage its finances. It must demonstrate the ability to do so on its own.
  • The district no longer has to contract with Mississippi Bend for leadership services. The state has had the district and AEA leadership working closely together since the takeover.

These updates to the relationship between the district and the state will be in effect until the state board’s March meeting, when the district’s status can be revisited.

Wednesday’s recommendations were based on an approach of gradually returning the district’s responsibilities to it, according to the education department. The idea is not to just stop the assistance abruptly, but return the authority in increments and support the district as it begins to exercise that authority again.

The goal is to build on success and continue to grow, according to the department. The Davenport district, for example, has done a great job with finance, so it no longer needs to contract with Sinclair.

The district’s efforts to address the problems underlying the citations have included the ongoing development of uniform standards for students’ learning environments and staff’s response to crises and violence. The district is also working on improving its early literacy scores, and the school board has been undergoing professional development.

The education department commended the Davenport school board and Schneckloth on their efforts. A substantial amount of work has been completed — but it isn’t done.

The work to date has been on the upper levels of the district’s system, the department said. What hasn’t been seen yet, but is starting to become apparent, is the impacts the citation work is having on the students.

Those impacts could not happen without those broader systemic changes being in place, the department said.

Though the recommendations presented to the state board Wednesday were not a full scaling back of state control, it was a significant reduction, the department said. It gives the district an opportunity to continue to make progress while under more of its own authority.

Coverage of the Davenport Community School District and the state citations

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The Davenport Community School District's superintendent described the district's decision-making systems and current work with the state to improve its operations during a report Thursday to the Iowa State Board of Education.

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The Davenport Community School District introduced another of its new cabinet members Monday night.

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The Davenport Community School District has introduced two of its recently hired cabinet members.

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Robert Kobylski, Davenport’s former school superintendent, says Iowa is targeting well-intentioned school leaders who don't toe the line on st…

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In justifying salary increases for school district executives in Davenport last month, the president of the school board said the new pay structure would bring the district in line with others in Iowa.

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Davenport schools youth leadership teams are giving kids a voice in school reforms.

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The Davenport Community School District board has approved the appointment of some members of the district’s new administrative cabinet.

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The Davenport Community School District is continuing to get passing grades on its efforts to improve itself under state control.

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Several Davenport Community School District schools have been recognized by the Iowa Department of Education for working to make their buildin…

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Incorporating student voices into the Davenport Community School District’s efforts to improve its response to crisis and violence is an attem…

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The Davenport Community School District is continuing to make progress on many of the issues that led it to being cited by the state, accordin…

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Students will be able to participate in the Davenport Community School District’s new plan for dealing with crisis and violence, according to …

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