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School board talks new High School

BY HANNA BEARY | JANUARY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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The consequences of the supplemental state aid bill passed through State House of Representatives were at the height of discussion in the Iowa City School Board meeting Tuesday.

Board Member Patti Fields is hopeful the recommended amount of 1.25 percent increase is the floor of the supplemental state aid, not the ceiling, she said. If passed, District could be looking at a huge budget cost.

“In order to continue growing, we need more money being funded,” Patti Fields said. 

Board members considered limiting the amount of comments and time that the public is allowed to speak as well. The idea of this is to limit the amount of time and comments the public can make on a subject in order to keep the meeting moving, officials said.

One parent, Julie VanDyke, protested by placing a piece of pink Hello Kitty tape across her mouth and said the move would violate her freedom of speech.

“We are not trying to eliminate their free speech,” Marla Swesey said. “They [the public] can still say whatever they want. We are just trying to add more clarifications.”

The recently passed law regarding the school date also rose as a concern during the meeting.

Starting school Sept. 1 or later may cause the school year to run into June, which has the potential to cause complications with summer activities. Some of the district’s buildings do not have efficient air conditioning systems able to handle the load of summer, Fields said.

The School District has yet to declare if they will apply for the early start waiver.

A new date has been set for Liberty High School opening as well.

The full opening date has been set for 2017. The students who will attend the school have not yet been declared, although the administration team is looking at all options currently.

Board Vice President Brian Kirschling raised the concern of athletic facilities being ready for use.. However, the administration team has ensured Stephen Murley they will have the proper resources to open.

New research for Leadership for Student Learning continues to make progress on the district’s strategic plan.

The plan will focus on setting one to three main goals. The school board is looking at primarily focusing on the subjects of math and reading along with increasing the schools graduation rate.

“Reading is key to improving math…” Kirschling said. “I would like to reach for a 95 percent graduation rate. It’s a stretched goal, but it’s attainable.”

The board plans to finish up the strategic plan in March.


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