Iowa City elementary school discussion continues, one board - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City elementary school discussion continues, one board member says school doesn't have to close

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Emotions continue to run high in the Iowa City School District. Last month we reported that the school board voted to close Hoover Elementary School. Now one board member says the school may not need to close after all.

Board member Sarah Swisher said on Facebook that she did not vote to close Hoover Elementary School. She confirmed the post in a private group to KWWL. Swisher said the board didn't specify a closing date, so the decision to close will be up to a future board.

The district's superintendent say it's not a question of if, it's a question of when.

Signs supporting the school are common around Hoover Elementary. Parents still hope their neighborhood school will be saved.

"Community schools in Iowa are community based for a reason and that's to keep a sense of community in the neighborhoods," said Dan Carrell, a Hoover parent. "When we heard it was going to be our own neighborhood, our own community kids hurt, our own children hurt by it, it was really heartbreaking."

In July the Iowa City School Board approved a facilities master plan that included closing Hoover but not before the 2017-2018 school year. Swisher says the lack of a specific closing date means the school isn't necessarily closing.

District staff is moving ahead,. They're hosting meetings with the Hoover community to come up with a timeline.

"There was a lot of interest from the parents about having some dialogue with us about that timeline and how it would work," said Stephen Murley, Superintendent. "We want to have that contact with the parents and get their input before we get the phasing plan to the board."

The 10-year plan includes building three new elementary schools and a third high school. The board is moving forward with those aspects, approving a land purchase at Tuesday's meeting.

Renovations to the current high schools are also included in the plan. Parents hope that will be true.

"If they don't follow through on that we're just talking about the problem being compounded later," said Carrell.

Because this is a 10-year plan, a lot of these details will be left to future boards. Sarah Swisher won't be on those boards. Her term is up this year and she's not running for re-election.

Two Iowa City School Board Members are running for re-election. They're facing a crowded field of challengers. In all, there are nine people running for three seats.

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