Davenport school closures, consolidations no longer considered for 2020

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DAVENPORT, Iowa-- The Davenport School Board president said the board missed a deadline during its last meeting to vote on closing or consolidating schools for the 2019-2020 school year.

The board discussed the current Vision 20/20, or five-year plan, during its Monday, Aug. 27 meeting.

For months, Davenport looked at numerous plans to close and consolidate schools in the area. One of those plans would've closed Monroe Elementary, sending students to Smart Intermediate.

"It's also been a huge boost to morale for both students and staff to know that we will not have to worry about a merger for a few more years," Smart Intermediate science teacher Charlotte Shepherd said during the meeting, "and nobody will lose their home away from home."

Closing a school would have saved the district $1 million, giving it some wiggle room with the budget.

But school closures could still be in the district's future.

The current five-year plan allows the board to revisit the idea for fall 2021.

It also looks at reducing staff by cutting about 23 certified positions, saving nearly $1.8 million. The plan also cuts four administrative positions.

Outsourcing some positions and services could save the district $750,000 over five years.

Board president Ralph Johansen said school closures aren't inevitable but likely in the future.

He said the district will next look at ways to bolster enrollment.

Davenport lost nearly 2,300 students in a 25 year period. Projections show enrollment declining by 600 students by 2023.

Declining enrollment plus a lack of funding from the state has led to the tight budget situation the district is in now.

The board is scheduled to vote on the five-year plan during its meeting next week.

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