With just two months until they need to make some big decisions, leaders with the Davenport Community School District say they need the public to tell them what they think of budget cuts and boundary changes.
The second of six public forums took place on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at Davenport Central High School. More than 100 people came and those who stepped up to the microphone spoke mostly about the proposed boundaries.
Dr. Art Tate, the Superintendent of the Davenport Community School District, says there are three elementary schools that are at 100% capacity - Washington, Harrison, and Garfield Elementary. Dr. Tate wants to change the boundaries so that all 17 of the district's elementary schools are more balanced.
News 8 stopped by Washington Elementary around 2:45pm on Tuesday, January 22nd to see if parents think there is an overcrowding problem. Some, like Amanda Ellis, says she's not sure, but says there's definitely traffic tie-ups when she picks up her kindergartner from school every afternoon.
"It's just so heavily congested," says Ellis. "You can never find a parking spot."
Others, like Patricia Flaherty who has a grandson in kindergarten, says she does not believe population is the problem.
"I've been at a school that was 100% before," says the former teacher. "The principal here is excellent and I know that the staff is wonderful and so I have every confidence that the kids are getting the education that they need regardless of the population."
Still others are not so sure what to think. Jay Groenbeck, who has a grandson in 4th grade and went to Washington himself, says he thinks more research needs to be done before they start switching students around.
"A survey to make sure that before they move people that they know they can do this and it's going to save some money," says Groenbeck. "I would like to see better schools. I would like to see better education."
That is just one of several issues being discussed in these public forums.
The other issue that's getting a lot of opinions from both sides is open enrollment. The district currently allows students to choose which high school they want to go to, but members with the Davenport School Board want to know if they should continue that.
There are still four more public forums before the Davenport School Board makes a decision on these issues in the Spring. The next one takes place Wednesday, January 23rd at Harrison Elementary School. There's also a forum on Thursday, January 24th at Davenport North High School, one next Thursday, January 30th at Walcott Elementary/Intermediate School, and the last one is February 12th at Davenport West High School.
Dr. Art Tate, Superintendent of the Davenport Community School District, says he wants people to know that their voices are being heard.
"We want to be open," says Dr. Tate. "We want them to be open with us. We have board members at every forum so they hear. We make transcripts and we give it to the board so they know what the questions were and then people can provide written answers for us."
For reaction on open enrollment from the first public forum, plus more information on the proposed budget cuts, boundary changes, and how to send your feedback to the Davenport School Board, click here.