Davenport School District Public Meetings

November  14, 2013

     Parents, students, and other residents of the Davenport School District are invited to public meetings tonight and Monday ( 11/18 ). Administrators want to find out what people think about school starting dates, and the high school schedule.

     Spokeswoman Dawn Saul this year the Davenport schools opened on August 12th. Five other districts in Iowa opened that week, followed by six more the following week.

     "We have to apply for a waiver to start early because Iowa code says you cannot start classes prior to the week with September 1 unless you apply for a waiver. Well, 340 of Iowa's 348 public school districts requested and received a waiver in 2012."

     Many people, including Governor Terry Branstad complain these early starting dates interfere with family vacations, limit summer jobs for young people, and hurt the tourism industry in Iowa. 

     Currently, Davenport high schools use the block schedule which is 4, 90-minute periods per day. And Saul says the question is whether the district should return to the traditional schedule with 7, 50-minute classes each day. 

     "We've read the research and the research says the block schedule is wonderful and the traditional schedule is wonderful - it depends on which research you read. So we can't find a definitive answer in terms of student achievement and what is best for students. We're looking for some community input."

     Saul says the block schedule is good for some subjects, but hurts others, and costs more - an estimated 1 1/2 million dollars per year.

     Both public meetings begin at 6 pm - tonight (thurs) at North High School, and Monday night at West High.