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Davenport parents fight school boundary changes

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Some Davenport parents are speaking out against the district's new boundary proposal, saying their neighborhood school is being ripped away from their kids.

On nice days, a walking caravan leaves Harrison Elementary School. A group of neighborhood kids walks seventh-tenths of a mile, across no busy streets, on the way home to Meadowview Lane.

"What better way to form a community than to have schools that kids are walking to, that they feel ownership in, that parents are able to walk to and from the school with their kids?" said parent Gabe Knight.

That community was a selling point for some neighbors when picking a house in the area.

"We actually even came in the morning-time during the week and saw kids in groups, backpacks, trekking their way to Harrison, and that is really what sold the deal for us," said Ryan Cannady.

A new boundary map could change all that, though, by sending future neighborhood kids to Fillmore Elementary, not Harrison.

"We won't be affected by the grandfather rules, our kids just flat-out won't be able to go. Their cousins live in this house right behind us, have grown up with them their whole lives, and now their cousins will go to Harrison still, but our kids won't get to," said Cannady.

Neighbors said the decision could tear them apart.

"I was so upset. Our neighborhood is really close, and it just feels like they're breaking us up," said Sara Anderson.

And those walks to school could become a thing of the past.

"They said it would cost the district $40,000 to bring a bus into our neighborhood and bus them 2.5 miles away, when our kids can walk to school from here. We don't think that's right," said Knight.

Friday night, the group rallied -- signing a petition and making plans to speak to the School Board on Monday night.

"We mean business. We're not gonna stop. We want to keep our kids at Harrison. We don't want to be split up," said Anderson.

Over the past few months, the district has hosted eight public forums to explain the boundary changes. Superintendent Dr. Art Tate has said some of the reasons for the adjustments are to eliminate overcrowding and balance building utilization. While Harrison is currently at 100% of its utilization, Fillmore sits at 72%.

The School Board is expected to vote on the boundary issue May 28th.

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