Iowa City School Board continues diversity policy talks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City School Board continues diversity policy talks


It's a controversial policy drawing sharp criticism from the community. The Iowa City School Board discussed their proposed diversity policy again Tuesday.

Just 3 days after the board held a listening post, the room was packed again as the diversity policy discussion continued.

"The first question I have is whether this is a legal policy to assign students to schools based on whether they're receiving FRL," said Nanci Kohl, parent.

"Let's get her done," said Chris Lynch, parent.

The diversity policy would require schools in the district to have a similar number of students on Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL).  That's because students at schools with high FRLnumbers have lower test scores.

But while the school board agrees on needing diversity, they disagree on how.

Jeff McGinnis proposed tabling a decision and even going back to the drawing board, while Sally Hoelscher says passing the policy can't wait and that the board was elected to make these kinds of decisions.

Views from the 34 members of the public who signed up to speak also ranged.

"I'm really disappointed that as much opposition as you are seeing here and what you heard on Saturday, you're willing to continue with this," said Amy Nielsen, parent.

"When did we decide as a state that the middle of the pack was good enough when it came to our children's education," asked Kathy Welsh, parent.  "Did we really make that decision or did we simply allow it to happen through inaction.?I encourage you to please move forward with the diversity policy."

The board was not scheduled to make a final decision Tuesday night.

Should the diversity policy pass, it would be up to the superintendent to implement it.

He has said it would mean redistricting, but maps have not been drawn.

That's partially because he's waiting to see if the district will be allowed to build new elementary schools---part of a February 5th referendum question.

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