School Board Members Prepare for Crucial Monday Night Vote

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

Monroe Elementary School in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, December 15, 2011. The school is on the list for potential closure. (Cliff Jette/SourceMedia Group)

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By Lisa Kunkel

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - School board members will take center stage Monday night with a big decision.

Board members have been pouring over data and information for months. The district is dealing with a 50-year low in student enrollment. Now they’re ready to lay out a path for the district’s future.

The board will vote on seven separate recommendations. It received the series of suggested changes from the Superintendent Dr. Dave Benson on Feb. 13. He recommended the district close Polk Elementary and the Monroe Early Childhood Center at the end of the year. He also suggested Wilson just serve as a middle school.

”Depending on the outcome of the vote, we’re prepared to implement the changes, effective this coming August when students and staff come back to school,” Dr. Benson said.

The board could decide to pass any number of the seven recommendations on Monday night. Long-time board member Ann Rosenthal said it would be a difficult decision, but it’s one they need to make to keep the district financially stable.

“If we don’t close Polk or start making changes in how the money is spent, then we’re going to start cutting teachers, does that mean one teacher at every building or two teachers at every building? Then we’re going to be affecting class size,” Ann Rosenthal.

The board meeting takes place at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency on 6th Street Southwest in Cedar Rapids at 5:00 p.m.

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