School boundary decision impacts fewer students, at least for now - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

School boundary decision impacts fewer students, at least for now


WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A final decision came Monday night on elementary school boundaries in Waterloo. The Board of Education voted 5-2 in favor of Plan "C". This will move fewer students to a new school next year.

58 are moving from the Black Hawk/Edison District to Irving Elementary. 19 will switch from Lou Henry to Kittrell. Plan "A" shuffled more than three hundred kids to new schools.

Dozens of parents and community members came to the Public Hearing before the board's vote, worried about what the proposed boundary changes meant for their young children.

Most wanted the board to vote for "C", keeping things status quo for more kids. Others felt Plan "A" was more fair for all kids.

Jim Day, Vice President of the Black Hawk County NAACP, didn't favor one plan over another. His goal was to encourage a bias-free decision.

"If we are indeed to maintain racial and social balances in our buildings -- which is one of the goals always of school districts -- that those need to be two way movements rather than always just one way movements," said Day.

While the majority favored the new proposal, Board President Bernice Richard voted for Plan "A". She felt they should not abandon months of work from the committee of more than sixty community members.

"Plan A accomplishes what the committee was charged to do. They had data from every building. They had representatives from every building to advocate on behalf of the students," she said before the Board made a decision.

One of her concerns is the plan they're going ahead with does not solve the issue of overcrowding. Richard fears, while many parents are happy now, a new round of moms and dads will be back at the podium in a couple of years.

"I'm sure we will be back. Definitely we'll be back. Because we are not moving enough students," said Richard.

"We still have some building size issues. We still have a couple of our buildings that are a little bigger than we like, and a couple a little smaller than we like," noted Superintendent Dr. Gary Norris.

Norris says the district is working to build another new Orange Elementary School building in two or three years. It could hold several dozen more students than the current Orange building. Norris suggested, that addition could help make boundary changes in the future a little easier.

Parents whose students use open enrollment to attend Cunningham Elementary will still have that option. The board did commend the Elementary School Boundary Study Committee for their hard work.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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