Davenport leaders came together Wednesday to take the final count of signatures on a petition that will force the Davenport Community School District to hold a special election to fill the vacant school board seat.
The position was previously held by Maria Dickman who now serves on the Davenport City Council.
Without the petition the school board would appoint someone to the seat without input from the public. This all comes just weeks after the board's decision to close JB Young school in Davenport, something Pastor Rogers Kirk says caused animosity in the community.
"People felt like their voice wasn't being heard. They were not being appreciated, and this was an outcry of that," says Kirk.
Davenport native John DeTaeye says he recognizes the issues the Hilltop neighborhoods near JB Young are facing, and being able to elect the new board member could help find solutions.
"There's a lot of money leaving the Hilltop area, and students are going to be traveling to school far away. And there's one seat on the school board now empty that could change that conversation dramatically," says De Taeye.
By law 390 people needed to sign the petition to get the special election. Pastor Kirk and about 30 volunteers say they have almost double that. Taeye says he hopes this enthusiasm won't be a one time thing.
"This is just the beginning of hopefully more people at school board meetings, paying attention to agendas, and staying involved, not just writing a name on a piece of paper,
says De Taeye.
Once the petition is turned in, the signatures will then be verified by an auditor. Elections are expected to be held early February.