Issues raised at Dubuque community schools meeting - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Issues raised at Dubuque community schools meeting

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- There was emotion at the Dubuque public schools community-input meeting Saturday morning.

Administrators scheduled the public meeting to discuss the future of old school buildings in need of repair, renovation or general revamping, but some people wanted to talk about more than just facilities.

Community members and parents such as Nancy Fischer spoke up about a variety of issues at the meeting.

Fischer attended Dubuque public schools as a kid and now her children are going through the system, "so, I have a great interest in our educational system in Dubuque," she said.

Fischer said she'd rather see more attention focused on educational needs than on the buildings themselves.

"We can talk about the structures," Fischer said, "but...are we meeting the needs of behavioral ed children, are we meeting the needs of special ed children, if we go to the 21st century setting, will it be disruptive to the teaching process?"

The 21st Century learning setting is what the school district is trying to foster. It's an environment saturated with technology and flexibility.

Dubuque Community Schools superintendent Dr. Larie Godinez said realizing that goal will require some facility changes.

"Clearly, most of our buildings are designed for different kinds of student engagement," Godinez said. "As we look toward moving into 21st Century learning and preparing our students, there needs to be a different work space for that to happen."

The school district contracted an architectural firm to conduct a study on each of the district's school buildings. Recommendations about class sizes and improvements came from that analysis and were presented at Saturday morning's meeting.

Small group breakout sessions at the meeting provided a forum for the other concerns people brought with them to the community input meeting.

These suggestions, which a note taker recorded in each group, will go to the school board. Members plan on taking the concerns into consideration as they move forward.

Godinez said the district plans on organizing more community-input meetings in the near future.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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