Consensus vs. Conflict - A Way Forward for the ICCSD
We are parents of Iowa City Community School District children. We are writing to express concerns about recent developments in the ICCSD at the Board level and to offer ideas for consideration. It appears the new Board may seek to reargue difficult redistricting decisions made 18 months ago by the Board. Those decisions came after two years of intense debate that exacerbated the East-West divide in this community.
Those decisions – to move Lincoln and Hills to City and to plan for a third high school -- have not even been implemented yet. We hope the Board is not already moving backward to address and reargue previous decisions instead of addressing critical issues that face the district. Frankly, those serious issues – like building an East side elementary to spur growth and deal with elementary capacity and FRL issues -- have not had proper attention. Attention has been diverted from these and other problems by the recent two-year-long high school redistricting debate and decision.
We are concerned the Board is interested in dredging up the past instead of building on progress and offering creative new steps for the district. New ideas could complement the 2010 re-districting we all thought was settled on 18 months ago after an emotional community dialogue.
We also believe the Board – at this time – is struggling to define a real long-term vision. This is vividly evidenced by comments that the third comprehensive high school is merely a possibility, not a part of well-settled mid-term plan. The Board is accelerating short-term fixes and re-fixes. These short-term decisions are primarily on East side high school concerns and perhaps not the best interest of all high school kids.
In the spirit of collaboration, we offer some ideas that we hope will broaden the conversation across the district and provide some positive solutions going forward. This proposal focuses on the short-, medium-, and long-range issues.
Please sign this petition asking the ICCSD School Board and Administration to consider these ideas as well as ideas from all stake-holders in the ICCSD and to develop a global vision that benefits all students.
We ask that you consider the following ideas, as well as ideas from all stakeholders in the ICCSD, and to develop a comprehensive vision that benefits all students.
• Build a new East side elementary. Critical short-term
• Make City High a magnet school or provide specialized programming at City High – like an International Baccalaureate, language immersion, or specialized science tech program to attract voluntary migration to City High. Critical short-term until attendance goals reached
• Begin construction of a comprehensive third high school in North Liberty. Open as a 9th grade center with detailed plans, including a timeline, to expand to a comprehensive third high school. Short-term and long-term
• Review students currently open-enrolling into West High and West High feeders. Stop future open-enrollments as appropriate to reduce number of students feeding West High. Short- and medium-term
• Continue creative solutions currently implemented at West High to address the short-term attendance bubble with an understanding that the absolute maximum at West High is 2100 students. Short-term
• Focus on organically growing City High and more socio-economic diversity on the East side in partnership with the City of Iowa City. Short-, medium-, and long-term
• Build onto North Central and use additional capacity to create a 7th - 9th grade facility as a short-term solution to overcrowding. Continue use of North Central as a 7th - 9th grade facility until a North Liberty facility opens as a comprehensive third high school or 9th grade center. Short-, medium-, and long-term
• Transition Lincoln to Southeast. Short-, medium-, and long-term
• Use excess capacity at Northwest for Wickham and Borlaug students (and the anticipated Borlaug growth). This sets up a clean feeder system for a three high school long-term plan. Short-, medium-, and long-term
• Address capacity needs at Penn Elementary. Short- and medium-term
• Provide an accounting of all SILO and PPEL funds 2007 -2017. Short-term
• Find ways to program that unite the East and West sides. ASAP
Additional information and an important history of the redistricting process can be found at:
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