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ICCSD Considering Magnet School
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) One corridor school district is looking to make some major redistricting changes. The Iowa City Community School district is still in the early planning stages, but the proposals will being some big changes, including dispersing students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.
Now, school leaders are introducing the idea for a magnet school as well.
The process in Iowa City was set in motion a while ago with a push to make each school in the Iowa City Community School District more diverse. They gauge that diversity by the number of kids who get free and reduced lunches.
"The research shows that you really would like to have schools that are no more than 40-60% free and reduced lunch eligible, said the Superintendent of the Iowa City Community School District Steven Murley.
While some of the schools in the district have almost no students on that program, a place like Mark Twain Elementary School is as high at 80%.
"When you have such a high concentration, it makes it really difficult for the teachers to have the time in the classroom to meet all the challenges that all the students present, said Mark Twain Parent Jason Lewis.
Getting a better balance means some kids have to move. After a few drafts of what that reorganizing would look like the district realized something.
"If we made some of the changes that were suggested, we actually had space available at Twain Elementary School that we had not had in the past, said Murley.
Right now, Twain has 316 students enrolled. The new attendance zones would drop that population to 213, leaving about 100 new seats for kids not already attending Twain, which could make up a magnet program.
Most important to the parents with kids already enrolled at the school is the fact that the district is accounting for 50 kids from Twain to have the opportunity to join the program, if they want to.
"You also have to make sure that you offer the kids who are within the communities every opportunity to be a part of the program as well, said Lewis.
Murley says overall, the district already does a good job hitting the core subjects, but that it can do better.
"This might give us then an opportunity to not only meet those core needs that our students have but also build out on their interests, said Murley.
"Since we're cutting budget and we're losing some programing, it gives us the opportunity to use this as a pilot to hopefully add some of that programming back into our classrooms in some creative ways, said Lewis.
The district says it doesnt know what kind of Magnet School it wants to pursue. It is taking public input for another week before the plans go before the school board on May 13.