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UPDATE: ICCSD Redistricting
IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- It is back to the drawing board for the Iowa City Community School District, after school board members decided there were better options for students than the administration's proposed Attendance Area maps the board was presented during a work session on Tuesday night.
Board members said, after having conversations with teachers, the goal for readjusting the numbers of Free and Reduced Lunch students should be achieving more of a balance, and not a certain percentage.
"Not necessarily some magic number, but more balance and more thoughtfulness in that process," said board member Patti Fields.
The board wants Superintendent Steve Murley and his team to redraw new maps with that -- and other things -- in mind.
"We took that information and we used that to draw maps that we thought, both met as many community expectations as we could, and we as compliant with the Diversity Policy as we could make them," Murley said, about the first drawing of the new Attendance Area zones.
Board member Tuyet Dorau suggested suspending and revising the Diversity Policy while Murley and his team redraw the maps, and while that's not likely to actually happen, parents like Sara Barron are glad priorities have shifted.
"I was really glad to see them say, 'Wait a minute, we're taking a look at these (maps), it's not really what we pictured, we need some other things in place to make sure we're having strong educational outcomes.' So that was really exciting to see that discussion happen," Barron said.
Part of that discussion included giving more weight to factors such as academic outcomes, walkability to schools, and the relationships that have already been created.
Community members are just hoping for an outcome that best serves students.
"It's good to see as a community member that they're willing to take the discussion deeper, and not just fall back on old sides of (an) argument, but really work together to come up with something that's going to be better for our schools," Barron said.
The plan moving forward is for Murley to come back to the school board with questions for the first meeting in June, Murley to take those questions and redraw the maps by the first meeting in July, and, if the board approves of the new maps, to hold a public forum about them during the second meeting in August.
These maps are only for the elementary school attendance zones, and the community has expressed the need to wait for these maps to be finalized before moving on to maps for the junior and high schools.