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More State Oversight for Davenport Schools

A new advisor has started working with the Davenport school board and superintendent. Monday night the board approved several suggestions from Tom Lane, sent by the Iowa Department of Education to act as a "mentor."

Amy Williamson, the department's Bureau Chief for School Improvement, says Doctor Lane has many years of experience in education in Iowa, as a teacher, coach, counselor, principal, and superintendent.

"Tom has real strengths in working with boards of education and balancing budgets, in understanding how do you make things work in tough budget times, which Davenport is experiencing."

His suggested changes for the Davenport school board include: hiring Gary Sinclair to work with the district on budgets, dropping committee of the whole meetings and instead holding "learning sessions" with the Iowa Association of School Boards, re-organizing the district's human resources department, and using an outside public relations firm to communicate with parents, staff, and the community.

Williamson says Lane will probably work with the Davenport board and superintendent as long as the district's status is considered "conditional accreditation," as decided last spring by the state board of education.

Another mentor from the state has been working for the past year and-a-half to fix problems in the district's special education programs. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.