Petition leads to special meeting on Garfield Elementary School

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A special meeting took place Monday night to address the closure of Garfield Elementary School, but no vote took place to change what is already in motion.

Garfield is slated to close according to the Master Facilities Plan put forward by the Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD). Students from Garfield and Arthur Elementary will merge and attend a newly constructed school. It will be located where Arthur’s annex sits.

About thirty people attended the special meeting, and ten people spoke. Three were from CRCSD, including Joy Long, the principal of Garfield. These three all supported the consolidation of the schools. Long provided a list of reasons why the building was not acceptable, including the fact it was not ADA compliant and a tally of maintenance issues. “While the district and our engineers try to maintain the building, there are several spots where paint will not stay on the walls or the ceilings.” She added the population that attends Garfield is diverse and said the school’s students should have the advantage of a new school.

Those in opposition to the consolidation had a variety of concerns. Several also mentioned diversity; they said the board had failed to provide information to the population impacted the most. They also voiced concerns about how money was being used and the impact of the neighborhood. Therese Smith, Vice President of Save CR Heritage, recounted getting people to sign the petition and “the immigrant who pointed out they chose to live near the school because they don’t have transportation for the children.”

School Board President David Tominsky said he was “quite honestly excited” to see the petition process be put to use. As for whether it will do anything to stop the plan already in place: “I think what’s most important to me right now is to process everything that we heard from the community and then to take some action. So, to predict what we might do or how easy something would be is not something that I really want to do right now.”

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