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Community Lodges Formal Complaint on ICCSD Cuts

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- A concerned group of parents and community members has lodged a formal complaint against the Iowa City Community School District in response to the $3.6 million in budget cuts made by the district earlier this year.

Some of the biggest concerns in the formal complaint include a lack of transparency in the budget process that created the cuts, and that teachers are faced with reassignments that some feel unprepared to take on. The people who filed the complaint are worried the cuts come too close to kids.

Jennifer Ohman-Rodriguez is a concerned Iowa City parent and a licensed teacher in Illinois. Hers is one of the 118 names on the complaint. Reassigning teachers into subjects and grades where they lack experience is a disservice, she said.

"My learning curve, if I had to be placed in a first grade classroom next fall, would be huge. And not fair to any family or any child," she said.

Superintendent Steve Murley said the district has a system already in place to help transitioning teachers get used to a new subject.

"We believe that teachers teach kids, not necessarily content. They teach students. And we again have great confidence in our teachers to teach students," Murley said.

Still, the complaint claims the cuts to programs like music fly in the face of the district's new Diversity Policy.

"These cuts impact those children who are most vulnerable," Ohman-Rodriguez said.

"The balance was, either look at those (programs), or look at increasing class sizes again through the district," Murley said.

The district will increase class sizes slightly next year. Murley  thinks the current cuts do the least damage to the fewest number of students.

The complaint asks for the cuts to be "revisited and revised."

Murley has already responded to the complaint, asking for an extension to give a more detailed response. He has until June 6 to do so, Ohman-Rodriguez said.

Some of the people who signed the complaint are members of the Iowa City Music Auxiliary.
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