Davenport Schools Discuss Next Round of Budget Cuts

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The Davenport Community School District plans to cut another $3 million from its 2013-2014 budget, starting with a $400,000 reduction in three transportation areas.

On Wednesday, September 19th, school district leaders held a listening session to explain the possible cuts to parents as well as listen to their concerns and ideas.

The first area up for discussion includes extending the elementary school walk zone from 1.5 miles currently in place to 2 miles. However, some parents are concerned about students' safety.

"2 miles is unrealistic," says Debbie Thede, who currently has two kids in the Davenport School System. "I worry about the child that gets on a pattern of walking every day at 7:10am or 8:10am and what houses she's passing, what bus she's passing, and who knows her route. How does a parent know they get to school?"

The second area would eliminate bus service before and after school to childcare, like the Scott County YMCA. The service is not mandated by the state, but it is something parents and guardians depend on if they work during the day.

"They're looking to the lower-income people to make all the sacrifices when none of them are willing to make sacrifices," says Tonja Scott-Pate, who has a granddaughter who attends Jefferson-Edison School during the day and the Scott County YMCA after school. "That's not fair."

The third area up for discussion eliminates paid condition busing. Paid conditional busing is currently available to students who otherwise do not qualify for free bus transportation.

Superintendent Dr. Art Tate says reductions need to be made and the School Board is trying to keep the cuts out of the classroom. He says there will be several tough decisions in the months ahead and hope parents can understand the district's situation.

"It's just something we have to do," says Dr. Tate. "We appreciate the parents. We understand the fix that they're in and we just hope that knowing this early - if the board decides to do it - they can make alternative arrangements."

The School Board plans to vote on the transportation reductions at their next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, September 24th at 7pm.

If you were not able to make Wednesday night's meeting, you can e-mail your suggestions to feedback@davenportschools.com or find more information here.