The Davenport Community School District is looking for input from the public on balancing its budget and boundaries.
The District hosted its first public forum on Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at Buffalo Elementary School to see what parents think of some of their plans. It was the first of six public forums that the District is holding in the next month.
The District is proposing $3,126,000 in budget reductions for the 2013-2014 school year. The reductions include an early retirement incentive, an insurance holiday, transportation efficiencies, and an across-the-board reduction of 5% from building and department discretionary budgets. More details can be found here.
The District is also looking at adjusting elementary school boundaries. Superintendent Dr. Art Tate says some of the reasons for the adjustments are to eliminate overcrowding and balance building utilization. For example, there are some elementary schools - like Garfield, Harrison, and Washington - that Dr. Tate says are currently at 100% of its utilization. However, there are other elementary schools that are well under that, such as Buchanan (69%), Jackson (68%), and Fillmore (72%). You can see all the proposed boundary changes here.
High School Choice
Finally, the District wants to hear thoughts from the public on their current high school enrollment situation. Right now, students can choose which of the District's three high schools they want to go to - North, West, or Central. However, those schools are unbalanced in terms of their utilization... North (59%) is much less utilized than its sister schools Central (74%) and West (72%). If the District were to require students to go to the high school in their established boundary, statistics show the utilization of all three schools would be more balanced.
During the first public forum, there were plenty of opinions on both sides of the issue:
"I think all three high schools offer strengths and maybe your child would be better at a different high school," says Noelle Bigalk, who lives in North's boundary, but her son has chosen West. "Plus, they're getting older and life is about choices and we think choice is good."
"Sometimes it feels like there's negativity within the District and I think that's silly," says Sharon Snawerdt, who lives in West's boundary and also sends her children there. "There are great strengths of each high school and I'm happy to bloom where we were planted and have our family support the school of our area."
There are five other public forums taking place in the next month. You can find a schedule here, as well as find ways to send the District your feedback on all the above topics.