The Davenport Community School District is considering closing one of its schools, in order to balance the budget. One local official says the problems are partly caused by the state’s school funding formula.
Since the 1970s, the state has limited per pupil spending for some districts to $175 dollars less than other districts. The Davenport Community School District is one of those that’s been capped. This session, lawmakers made a dent in that funding formula, by increasing the funding in those schools by $5 more per student.
But Davenport School Board President Ralph Johanson still sees the funding disparity between neighboring districts as unjust.
“The inability to spend the same amount…it just doesn’t seem right. And it doesn’t seem Iowan,” Johanson said.
Johanson acknowledged that $175 per pupil doesn't sound like much. But he said over the years that funding could've made a considerable difference in his district.
“Over the past 40 years or so that the law has existed, we figure that we have not spent approximately $140 million in the district,” Johanson said.
Johanson said declining enrollment is also a major factor in the decision to close a school.
The district is now asking for the public's help to determine which one to shut down. Public meetings on the issue are scheduled for Wednesday May 9th, Tuesday June 12th and Wednesday September 12th.
The school board hopes to announce which school it plans to close by this October, in order to get more public feedback and notify families of the changes.