Thursday, May 12, 2016

Update, Thursday, May 12

As I mentioned in my last post, there were some preliminary estimates of the free and reduced-lunch (FRL) that would result from assigning both Kirkwood and Alexander elementaries to West High. This has led to some erroneous information finding its way around. The district has now posted more finalized calculations of those rates. They show a 36% FRL rate at City High, a 34% rate at West High, and a 20% rate at Liberty High, under the enrollment we have today in the three secondary zones that have been drawn, assuming that both Kirkwood and Alexander are assigned to West.

There will be disagreement about whether that range of numbers is acceptable, and the updated information raises some legitimate concerns about capacity usage. My own view is that we still need to make additional changes to the secondary boundary plan.

Again, the board is still working through this issue and has scheduled a work session to continue its discussion of it. Under state law, we simply can’t discuss these issues as a group except in our scheduled board meetings and work sessions. As a result, the process does not always proceed as quickly and linearly as we would all like. On a difficult and controversial issue, that can understandably make people anxious, but it’s just part of the process that has to occur to reach a conclusion.

The board members have some disagreement about how to weigh the value of parity in the FRL rates against the concrete realities of assigning high-poverty areas to schools that are farther away and harder to get to, as well as about other aspects of the issue. (See this post.) But I don’t doubt that all of my fellow board members—including those I disagree with—are trying to reach an outcome that is best for the district’s kids and especially for the kids who need the most help.


Anonymous said...

Is this including the changes made to Alexander that will increase the FRL??? Seems fishy to me that the FRL numbers were supposedly going to be about equal between West and City with Kirkwood at Liberty and somehow they are still about equal.

KJ said...

Any updates to the elementary FRL numbers after the new boundaries were voted in Tues night?

Anonymous said...


Now you do not feel as compelled to move Alexander to City as the FRL number at West is close to that at City, right?

Now the transportation problems those Alexander students will have do not seem to matter to you as those of Kirkwood students, right?

All your estimates, projections, scenarios, number crunching are just .....

Dan said...


Quite a disingenuous post from an elected Director.

1. You state that the process is "linear", yet you voted to move Kirkwood to Liberty without packaging it with Alexander to City. That's not a scenario...that is just poor legislation. You have an actual scenario? Propose it. Piecemeal legislation is a horse by committee. That's on you.

2. You did so WITHOUT data, now posted by ICCSD, which is irresponsible.

3. you write of the "concrete realities" of students (I assume Kirkwood and Alexander) attending the secondary schools approved last May. What are those realities? Are they any less "concrete" than the data-driven reality of reduced performance of both low-SES and higher-SES students in schools above 40% FRL?

4. On point #3, even if valid do those "concrete realities" outweigh the good of the other 12,500+ students in the district? Again, it's a PACKAGE.

Lastly, you are reporting the FRL% with bias. The board should place more weight on the the aggregate FRL% of the elementary schools serving each secondary school for a more realistic picture of 4-5 years down the road. That shows that the FRL% will be 43/45/18 for City/West/Liberty. Liberty is shown ALL RED in every diversity category.

If you think 43/45/18 is acceptable, and think that an 80% white high school is acceptable, please do not purport to be an advocate for all children of the district.

Anonymous said...

The numbers are fishy as Dan mentioned at elementary level is 43/45/18 but it changed to 34/36/20 for high school? How come?

Anonymous said...

Dan - Who is being disingenuous? 40-60% was the acceptable range; 40% was the bottom of the range.

More importantly, isn't the idea of SES integration to benefit the lower SES kids at supposedly no cost to the higher SES kids?

If so, and if the lower SES kids don't want to be bused to a different school, please tell me how there is harm to the higher SES kids - where is that in the research? I don't understand how you got there.

How exactly would Kirkwood and Alexander NOT being bused hurt the other 12,500 kids in the district?

Where are you going with this white high school stuff?

NL is 90% white so having their HS be 80% white seems like there is an effort being made. https://suburbanstats.org/population/iowa/how-many-people-live-in-north-liberty

CV is 80% white according to the 2010 census, so no problem with not being representative there either.

What are you proposing Dan? That you need to ship some IC kids to Liberty?

KJ said...

Dan, I can appreciate your passion for all of this but if you don't mind me asking, what school do your kids attend? I would be shocked if it was one of the 5 elementary schools that are over 70% FRL.

Dan said...


They attended ES both outside the area and in ICCSD. Outside, I have no idea of the FRL, but I recall the school was 40% white. Diverse and high ELL, perhaps not low-SES. They rode a bus past another ES to get there. In ICCSD, less than 70%. I think it varied between 30-50% over their span.

For what it's worth: I'm not sure if FRL% was around back then, but I went to a high school that was very racially and SES diverse and likely in the 30-40% range. It's "diversity" climbed in the 10 years after I graduated (due to new high schools and restricting...the suburban sprawl affect) and it closed at around 80%. It was changed to a vocational high school for the area.

I loved my high school when I went. My siblings 4-5 years later hated it, and switched to a parochial high school.

Nothing new under the sun. What happened there will happen here.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be an increase in low income housing in the area of Liberty High and some of the southern attendance area of Liberty High should be split between City and West.

IClocal said...

Thank you for voting to switch Kirkwood back to NW and West. You listened to what the Kirkwood population had to say. You are a good elected official. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Please do what is right for our kids. An elementary level of 43/45/18 isn't ok and will have a grave effect on our city. This could lead to bigger problems our Iowa City has yet to experience. This is on you as our elected official. You alone undid what took two years and hundreds of hours of careful planning and research. What is your plan Chris? Will you be living in Iowa City in 2025? That's a sad picture of Charter Schools and crappy public schools. Many cities have fallen into this trap...please don't let it happen to ur beloved Iowa City.

Mary said...


You are probably aware of this; however, eligibility for FRL is not necessarily equivalent to poverty. My recollection is that to qualify for free lunch, a household's income can be up to 130% of the federal poverty guidelines; and to qualify for reduced lunch, a household's income can be up to 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. A single parent with three children who went back to school and became a new teacher in ICCSD with no other source of household income would have kids that would probably qualify for FRL. In addition to evaluating schools by FRL, I would like to see the board evaluate and report on schools by below proficient, proficient, and high proficient test scores.

It would also be good for the board to sit down sooner rather than later and have a serious brainstorming session about how household wealth or the relative lack thereof has the potential to impact the total experiences (academic, athletics and other extra-curriculars) students have at each ICCSD secondary school. The time to do this is now before any boundaries are set in stone. And have this session with data you require the administration to compile ahead of time in front of you (e.g. demographics of who participates versus demographics of student body population).

Toward that end, you might consider also starting with a list of every academic enrichment opportunity and extracurricular activity offered today and where support for such an activity comes from. Include whether the money and goods/services are specific to a particular school or shared among the community of schools? If there is a significant disparity of household wealth among the high schools, the board may have to commit additional funding, not just for academics, but for athletics and extra-curriculars at one ore more schools. Will this happen? Or perhaps an activity could be a class at one school but an outside activity at another so students at all high schools have similar access? I'd like to see the board evaluate these issues and how they impact opportunities for students ahead of firm boundary decisions.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1118

I applaud you for being honest - it's all about IC, not about the kids.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1118:

Two years of planning and research? Two years of conspiracy and manipulation is more like it. The research you so heavily relied on is dubious at best as pointed out by numerous. The manipulation of votes and board election, evidenced by Ed Stone and his doing, borderlines criminal. I don't know if Ed still lives in IC, if he does, he needs to move elsewhere. If you've forgotten, see below.


The votes on Tuesday night were nothing more than correcting the mistakes and removing whatever remnants were left of the "Diversity Plan", which was defeated, overturned and thrown away.

Dan said...

Anon at 3:04 p.m., Dan here.

1. Who said 40%-60% was "acceptable" in a high school? Certainly not any research or data, including the Hanover report posted on Board website. Ever been in even a 50% FRL high school? It's not a school, it's survival. It's bad for the low-SES and the higher-SES students. This is not my opinion, it is a well-researched fact.

2. We should stop just thinking percentages: West will have 562 FRL students on day one. Liberty will have 136. That's almost 4 times more. West will also have 98 ELL students, Liberty 8. That's CLASSROOMS of students versus a handful.

3. This is not STATIC. I didn't invent the term "White Flight", it is an actual phenomena. The houses planned and under construction around Liberty are not low-SES houses. It's already happening. IF YOU BUILD A NEW, LOW DIVERSITY, HIGHER-SES HIGH SCHOOL, PEOPLE WILL FLOCK TO IT. It's a private school with public money. The only way to stop it is to not make it any more attractive (except for the newness) than the other high schools. You are thinking short term...I am thinking long. It will not be reversible if you start with such a huge imbalance.

4. How does it affect the other 12,500 you ask? #3 above. Also, I honestly believe that if we could magically transport the Kirkwood kids forward in time to Liberty for one week, they would laugh at the idea they (or their parents) ever thought a 40+%, crowded West High was a better idea.

Anonymous said...

Chris did exactly what he was elected to do-listen to the people who elected him. I can only hope that courtesy will be extended to Alexander families as well. He is bringing much needed common sense and transparency to a Board that historically has had neither of those. I'm so thankful to finally have someone that can look at the needs of children and families.

Anonymous said...

"White Flight" didn't happen. Look at the FRL numbers at junior high level. North Central is at 18% and Northwest at 38%, Southeast at 48%. In addition, North Central is much nicer building. Two junior highs have FRL rate more than twice than the other. Nobody "flocked" to North Central. As a matter of fact, I think North Central is the least crowded of all three and still has room to spare. And what is the "flock" anyway in our context? A flock of 5 miles? That is just laughable.

Anonymous said...

If the district wants to have economic balance the board needs to do several things (1)currently bring in more middle and upper price housing stock into the West and City districts (2) don't be afraid to shuttle upper income kids just as you are not afraid to shuttle low income kids and (3)make a clear statement and enact a written policy that you will from time to time in the future adjust boundaries to keep balance (4) have a written policy prohibiting individual transfers from one school to another if the balance will be adversely affected (5) work with the cities and the county to have low income housing built in the Liberty area and to reduce the same in other areas, and (6) provide financial incentives to build more higher end housing in the Alexandre area.

If the board doesn't want balance, put as much present and future higher end housing as you can into the Liberty area and make a commitment that these boundaries won't change.

Having a board which apparently is not willing to have economic diversity is yet another reason to vote against the upcoming GO bond. Why? Because the only way to prevent the disparity from getting any worse will be to cut off funding for more elementary schools in the north, which would be attended by more wealthy kids who would expect to go to Liberty, etc.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:18: Will you listen to yourself? It is the Board of Education of ICCSD, not the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union! The Board has no zoning power, has no legislative authority, has little influence on local government, and is run by volunteers. Oh, by the way, your number 3 and 4 are already done. The clear statement and written policy called "Diversity Plan" or something like that, was reversed. We don't want that. Load and clear.

Ted said...

Anonymous @ 8:50 a.m.,

Sad you are hung up on Ed Stone.

In May 2015, the board approved 6-1 a secondary feeder plan. This plan was also the winner in ALL public forums. Look it up.

The current board is not "rejecting diversity"...though it looks like you would like them to.

North Liberty got their high school (although their tax dollars only paid for about 15% of it); the deal in approving that school (and the other ES) was diversity. NO WAY the initial bond gets approved or Liberty gets built if 40+/40+/18% FRL disparity was known in advance.

Dan said...

Anonymous at 9:40,

Dan here.

Are you saying 48/38/18 at the junior highs is OK? Because if you are, we're done here.

Don't hurt yourself trying to think about "white flight". There's research. No one moves for 2 years of middle school.

What's a "flock of 5 miles"? Do you get the concept? PEOPLE WILL MOVE THERE. NEW FAMILIES COMING INTO THE AREA WILL CHOOSE THERE. If I were moving into the area and West and City are both above 40% and Liberty is under 20% (and brand new), I would likely choose Liberty. That's the point. The differential will GROW if it is too spread at the start.

Frank said...

How much would some of you like the taxpayers of Iowa City and Coralville to bend?

This is a PUBLIC school district.

If A & K students need to get on a FREE bus in order to go to a brand-new FREE school, to eat FREE lunch, to get FREE extra resources, to participate in FREE activities (FRL students don't pay), and then take a FREE activities bus home for the good of the district (and research says, themselves), then that's what should be done.

I don't put much weight on the what some of the Kirkwood and Alexander parents feel they need or deserve...the vast majority of them don't show up, don't volunteer at school sports or activities, don't go to conferences, don't participate in any way. I'm not responsible to remove every hurdle for them.

I am happy to pay more taxes than anyone posting on this blog for the good of all students. But taking my money then UNDERSERVING my children? That's unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents:

Ted - NL didn't get "its" school. The district got a much needed third HS to help relieve overcrowding. It was placed in a location where land was available and there are a ton of kids.

Ed Stone and the BS he and his scheming board pulled cost this district lots of money, time, and goodwill. It is all about the F'd up approach they took.

If you believe in Kallenberg, follow his advice:

- VOLUNTARY is key. Trying to jam it down everyone's throats increases resistance.

- Trying to force people to endure barriers for something that might happen at a school some day is untenable

- Focusing on the High School level where we have 2 of the best schools in the state doesn’t generate urgency

- Ignoring the elementary level where there are significant differences while focusing on the secondary level generates questions about motives

Frank - Explain to us all how bussing KW or Alexander families to farther schools changes your kids being under served. What is the connection? Maybe you are shooting for a more private-school-like City High?

RG said...

Some of these comments are just absurd and some people must live in a fantasy land. For example what if I said - maybe the ICCSD should erect a mega apartment complex on the Liberty High campus for FRL families so we can have equal balance at the high schools. Then "these" kids can just walk to school so we can save on buses. And also we can provide a new free bus line to Iowa City for their families so they can get to work and to activities. The reality is that Liberty is being built where the students are at. It is a high growth area that has a lot of new housing developments. There isn't much ICCSD can do about it unless they want to bus kids across each other - which appears to be unfavorable based on all of the discussion and surveys over the past many years. I don't think we can have both neighborhood schools and a perfect balance of SES - this is not unique to ICCSD.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: it is what it is. It is economics and there is not much the school board can do about it. If you want to experiment with social engineering, school board, as powerless as it is, is the last entity you want to try it with. Then you add to the mix questionable motives, such as closing Hoover to make room for a parking lot for City High, you have a dysfunctional group.

Ted said...


Let's not let facts get in the way of a good story.

1. Liberty High is NOT being built where the students "are at" (sic). It's in a field, surrounded by fields.

2. North Liberty is not "high growth", just relatively high PERCENTAGE growth. If you go from 1,000 residents to 2,000 residents, that's 100% growth...but not quite yet time to build a mall.

3. Speaking of growth, Iowa City grew almost 6,000 residents between 2010 and 2015. NL grew 3,000 in the same period. So who is "high growth"? It is a direct untruth that NL is growing faster in absolute numbers - which convert to seats in schools - that IC.

4. NL remaining growth that is WITHIN ICCSD territory is very limited. No possible way it gets over 25,000...or less than half Iowa City.

Not Ted said...


I don't understand what point you are trying to make related to schools. Liberty makes perfect sense for this oddly shaped district and it's already under construction. The fact that NL is growing faster than IC is math - not opinion.

Looked at the posts from RG and can't really figure out what the hell NL population has to do with anything in this discussion. People in the county who live up North will go to Liberty as well. Yes, there is more population in IC in total, but there are already 2 HS's in IC. If we don't want HUGE high schools, it means new schools. We are all one district so it makes sense to build the HS in an area that has LOTS of kids without a close HS to help save money on busing.

1. West and City were both "out in a field" when they were built. There isn't enough space in the heart of the cities so that is why new HS's are built out in fields - and it has always been that way here.

2. NL is in fact one of the fastest growing cities in the state and growing faster than IC - your numbers demonstrate it. A city that is MORE than 2 times bigger than another one, but only doubles the overall growth of the smaller city, that larger city is growing slower than that smaller city.

Anonymous said...

Yates resigned - that makes things more interesting.

Anonymous said...

guessing with 3+ years on his term we are heading to a special election - coupled with the fact the board is now split 3-3.

Ted said...

Not Ted,

It seems math isn't your gig.

I referenced census statistics.

NL is growing at a faster RATE that IC, but IC added TWICE the number of residents in the past two years. Even if NL are a greater percentage children being born/added, there is NO WAY that NL is growing faster.

In case you were wondering, we are building seats for students. Percentage growth rate is not seats. IC is adding more required seats to the pile than NL.

Fastest growing city in the state of Iowa. That's funny. It's a zero growth state.
Maybe if NL is growing so fast, they should get a real police department (not one that calls ICPD all the time) and an actual fire department. Until then, it's a tiny town that should be thankful it's schools are subsidized by the cities to the south.

Not Ted said...


Fine at math. You claiming IC is High growth was the issue. A town of 62000 adding 6000 is not "high growth" where as a town of 15000 adding 3000 is. Lots of places in the midwest would be happy with either. Our problems beat shrinking.

Still don't know what the point of your post was. IC is bigger? OK. Two HS there already. Building the school where it makes sense.

You sure about IC adding more seats to the pile? Lots of young families in NL. Lots of grandparents (wealthy old people in IC.) :>) (Yanking your chain)

Anonymous said...

"the deal in approving that school (and the other ES) was diversity." What deal was this? Who was the deal between? Was a specific level of diversity demanded at every level? Sounds like this is a reference to the diversity policy and the percentages put forth by Ed. Part of that "deal" was that elementary schools can't be more than 15% above the district average FRL. Big problem there.

"NL got their high school North Liberty got their high school (although their tax dollars only paid for about 15% of it)." The district got the urgently needed high school capacity. It was built in an area that makes sense geographically and where land was available and affordable. The district could not serve the high school population in the two existing schools.

Liberty High School was funded through SAVE, which is from sales tax. How are you figuring this 15%? Other projects funded by SAVE include Alexander and New Hoover, the addition and upgrades at City, Longfellow and Lucas. And, again, Liberty High benefits the entire district.

Do you want to start facilities planning based on who pays the most taxes? How will we determine that? That seems like a bad idea for low income areas. What about areas with more retail and sales taxes?

Anonymous said...

Here is the larger concern. The maps in April showed a clean feeder system with a 31-29-28 C-L-W split. Now with Kirkwood AND Alexander at West the numbers are 36-20-34. Moving the Kirkwood kids to Liberty just widens the gap between City and the other two schools.

Considering Chris had correct numbers on frl during the meeting his concern regarding capacity should be considered legitimate. An outside the box approach to raise capacity at liberty and balance the numbers somewhat would be to move VanAllen to west.

For those who think this is ridiculous VanAllen has the exact same situation as Kirkwood with a much lower frl rate. VanAllen has already shown an ability to overcome the lack of public transportation AND has an existing relationship with West.

Finally Tom Yates resignation is sad. Driven out because a group of parents getting what they want(Alexander at West) is ridiculous. The tenor of this whole debate has gone off the deep end. Parents applauding at the the thought of West at 50+ revealed their true motivation. (I was at the meeting and if you watch the meeting this is a verified fact.) If as much effort was put into coming up with solutions as demonizing KIDS who your children might have to go school with the district would be better served

Anonymous said...


Are you saying that a town of 18,000+ people shouldn't have a nearby high school?

Print this page and be prepared to eat your words because it is obvious that North Liberty WILL reach a population of 25,000 and most likely within the next 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Tom Yates (the third resignation in 3 years) was a victim of the Board's continual practice of micromanaging the Central Office and thinking they know better than data and past case histories around the country.

Not surprising, really, since that is how all the elected groups (city council, board of supervisors) act around here. Nearly everything in this town seems to be a public referendum; the concept of representative democracy has been lost.

Having lived in 8 school districts in my adult life, I would suggest the board needs to on any given issue:

1. Instruct Mr. Murley and the Central Office to do research, compile data, talk to other school district, and present.

2. Ask the Central Office for their recommendation.

3. Accept that recommendation unless it has significant flaws either in calculation or understanding of Board instructions.

That's it. That's what boards do. They provide the parameters/goals to the administration, listen, then trust the experts.

We listen to parents too much, who are often ignorant and nearly always parochial in their interest. If the public doesn't like how a board member has voted, then vote them out next term. That's how representative democracy works.

Ted said...

Anon at 9:57,

Sure, NL can have a school. Want one? Got $40 Million? Got $2+ Million as year to run it?


Then here is what you can have all to yourself: a $15 million, $1 Million a year 400 student, 1A high school with limited curriculum.

And again, pull out a map: I wrote THE PORTION OF NL WHICH IS WITHIN ICCSD won't get to 25,000. A LOT of NL's future growth is in CCA and Solon districts.

Anonymous said...

okay, no more Liberty High school. Where are you putting all the high school kids?

Anonymous said...

LOL. So the East side started all this, wanting to pop up City High. They succeeded in busing kids from North Lincoln into City but failed in the same attempt at Wickham. What a wake up call. The west side and the north side all pushed back so hard that North Liberty now has their "own" high school. Had the East side not tried so hard with their disguised "Diversity Plan", Liberty High probably wouldn't happen for another ten years. If you really want to ship kids around, do it on the other side of the river, OK? Play with your numbers however you want, just stop caring for our kids, we are fine without your help!

Anonymous said...


Ask Lynch, per NL city manager most of North Liberty's near term and moderately longer term growth IS IN the East/NE part of North Liberty which is in ICCSD.

Ted said...

Anon 11:18,

Who are "we" in your last sentence? West side? North Liberty? White people? Higher-SES people? Because the WE can't be anyone attending West or City.

I have written NOTHING to indicate I live on the East side. I do not. Nor do I subscribe to whatever fantasy conspiracy theory you still believe exists and holds the Board like the Dark Side of the Force.

If you believe that having West High at 98% capacity AND twice the FRL% (over 4 times the absolute number of FRL students) on DAY ONE of Liberty opening is OK, then you we are done.

Take at look at the Board's new numbers posted Wednesday. The way that the board voted Tuesday, we will have built a high school for it to be NEVER more than 70% occupied in the next 10 years, while West and City will BOTH be over capacity within THREE (West in YEAR 2!).

I have no issue building a high school. I have issue building a new, $40M, white, 2A high school on the backs of the people in overcrowded schools WITHOUT RELIEVING THE OVERCROWDING.

Ted said...

Anon at 11:12,

And what did the NL City Manager (whom I have also spoken with...and reviewed zoning documents...and spoken to housing developers) say that the top-line growth would be in terms of NUMBER residents? If there is a number, why isn't it shared?

In any case, pick your logic:
1. There isn't much room up there, so we will ALWAYS and IN INCREASING AMOUNTS have to bus students there to fill a 1,500 student school.

2. There's lots of room to build up there, which leads right into the "white flight" (more correctly High-SES flight) phenomena. An increasing number of people coming into the district and some able to move within the district will move to Liberty area where they can attend a new, low FRL%, less crowded school.

TO ALL: Is there ANYONE on this post that if moving into ICCSD would not choose to move into the Liberty school district as things stand? Does anyone love diversity and overcrowded schools that much?

Ted said...

Anon at 7:52 p.m.,

The school is being built. I wasn't against it.

But I (and many others) saw this coming:
1. Proponents said they would be "happy" with less course offerings and less extracuriculars for a while, since operations will be stressed. But now? Has to be equal.

2. That NL residents in particular (who I again will remind you CANNOT AFFORD THEIR OWN HIGH SCHOOL) would begin to treat the school as a separate entity they own, rest of ICCSD be damned.

3. That although BALANCING DIVERSITY WAS PART OF THE BOND AND THE LIBERTY APPROVAL (it was in every ICCSD presentation. Read up...it was), once under construction minds would change.

Again, anyone happy with the Secondary balance voted on Tuesday - both in terms of capacity and diversity - cannot purport themselves to be for anyone other than themselves.

Anonymous said...


ICCSD has more students than it has HS space for, so another HS is being built where it makes sense based on where students are in the district, avoiding busing, etc.

I personally believe we should send KW to West and Alexander to City. They are two of the best HS's in the state with the kids they have now.

Anonymous said...


What do you mean Liberty proponents are unhappy with fewer course offerings and extracurriculars? It is some of the people demanding that Kirkwood attends Liberty who are complaining about fewer offerings if they don't. You are accusing the wrong group of people.

Your accusation that NL residents are treating Liberty "as a separate entity they own and the rest of the ICCSD be damned" is unfounded, divisive garbage. Kirkwood asked to go to NWJH and West. Your finger is pointed the wrong way again.

Are you referring to the revenue purpose statement which allows the ICCSD to bond against future revenues? Ed threatened the failure of the revenue purpose statement if the diversity policy with his specific percentages didn't pass. The RPS was very vague and didn't mention diversity or a high school. It passed. Then the board approved the high school as part of the $260M facilities plan meeting needs all over. The Board is trying to create more balance at all levels and the boundaries are not finalized. What burdens are you willing to place on low-income families in order to achieve perfect SES balance in schools?

... said...

Liberty opens essentially as a 9-10th grade center. Juniors and seniors were given the option of attending West. More kids will move from West to Liberty in year two and three. Judging capacity usage based on year one is misleading.

Anonymous said...


Is there anyone on the board that is assigned to Liberty in the future? Lynch is the only possible one and he voted against the Tuesday board secondary boundary changes you despise. Roetlin voted to send Kirkwood to West, increasing the FRL at her kids' future high school. The others are all City High.

So I don't think a single one of them voted for their own selfish interests. Perhaps the board members willing to bus other people's kids an additional 8+ miles in order to lower the FRL at City High about 5 percentage points are though.

As for all of us lay people who support the Kirkwood and Alexander families in their quests to avoid extreme transportation burdens at secondary schools, I believe it is because we do listen to the very real problems those families would face and are convinced this is what is in their best interests.

Furthermore, it sounds like there are other ways to increase the FRL at Liberty that make much more sense, and also reduce capacity usage at City and West. But they have not been voted on yet. Hopefully they will, and the end result will be more acceptable to you.

Anonymous said...

You don't need to technically live in the east to be an east side parent.

Ted said...


Did you look at the sheets put out the the district Wednesday?

It shows 426 7th and 8th graders assigned to Liberty in 2017. That's 213 per grade.
In fact, it's under 250 per grade as far as the eye can see. That's less than a 1,000 student school.

Liberty will NEVER get ANYWHERE NEAR 1,500 unless they send some schools from the south up. That's a fact. Haven't seen anyone dispute me yet with any actual numbers.

Anonymous said...

Ted, the current 2nd grades at Garner/Van Allen/Penn have 252 kids total. That's not including Grant.

Anonymous said...

Can we please stop citing facts, data and statistics as if they matter. It's clear the board, past and present, choose whatever version of the data they want. Even when confronted with contrary data directly from the district directors choose to believe their own version.

Ted said...

Anonymous @ 4:35,

"You don't need to technically live in the east to be an east side parent"

Well put. Factual, substantive, elegantly crafted, issue focused.

Ted said...

Anonymous at 6:07

(can all you Anonymous posters at least make pen names? Jeez. :)

I'll make this easy.

To support a 1,500 student school, you need 375 student classes ( 4 x 375 = 1,500)

There is not the CAPACITY in the current ES serving Liberty to house 375 students in any one grade. G/VA/Penn/part of Wickham/part of Lincoln aren't close to having 375 total children in a grade.

YOU NEED TO PULL FROM ANOTHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Even then, chances are that redistricting will happen AGAIN to send children north to fill Liberty.

Anonymous said...

We are all busing kids around, right? I propose we bus some kids from the east to the west to Liberty. Sure we can bus some from the south to the north. We should also bus some from the east to the west. Mann, Wood, Shimek, here we come! Time to get on your hour long bus rides!

Anonymous said...

Good thing Liberty started with only 1000 seats. It will easily fill 900 of them once all four grades must go there. Rumor has it Liberty only needs 800 students to have reasonably similar course offerings.

Considering two more elementary schools are likely in the North in the next 7 years, I'd say it is a very good timeline for growing into the school.

It's also very good to start low with so many City High folk constantly threatening the bond. It may never get to 1500 seats.

Anonymous said...

Ted, Anon @ 6:07 here. You said "In fact, it's under 250 per grade as far as the eye can see." I demonstrated that that was incorrect. Liberty won't have 1,500 seats available until fall 2022, and that's only if the bond passes. That's over six years from now. A lot can change until then. We won't have a good idea of how full Liberty will be until we (1) get good numbers from the new elementary boundary maps and (2) get revised population projections.

RK said...

Geographically Wickham should feed into Liberty too if we are wanting to feed to the closest high schools. If we throw balancing FRL perfectly out and just go to the closest schools there is no problem filling Liberty as needed. That is not going to happen because Liberty will get too "white" and too "rich" for some people's comfort.

Anonymous said...

Using catchment area numbers to project future enrollment at Liberty is not accurate. Those numbers do not account for any growth. Liberty could quickly become the most crowded high school. Big problem if the bond doesn't pass.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6 p.m. wrote about the "board's continual practice of micromanaging the Central Office and thinking they know better than data and past case histories around the country.".... 2. Ask the Central Office for their recommendation."

Your #2 hasn't worked well in the past. Mr. Murley was asked more than once by ICCSD board member, Tuyet Dorau, in a public meeting for a recommendation prior to the board voting on the facilities master plan, and he outright refused to give one.

I don't see the board "micromanaging" the Central Office. The board president wants things run through him.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 12;53,

If Murley refuses to make a recommendation when asked (and I don't think he does), cite him then fire him.

I suspect he has just gotten used to sitting back and letting the Board hang themselves, which they so often oblige.

My point was that it shouldn't work that way. I have been to school board meetings in two school districts both larger than ICCSD, both with a lot of the same performance, growth, and budget issues. The board dynamics were completely different. It seemed if you were a board member and wanted to go against the recommendation of staff, you needed to have a really good reason.

Ted said...

Anonymous @ 8:54,

"Using catchment are numbers to project future enrollment is not accurate"

I really wish people would actually read the Enrollment Report before posting their theories. The ER includes growth projections by school and grade going out 10 years. We can dispute whether or not ICCSD projections - and the assumptions therein - are correct, but it at least should be a starting point.

Based on ICCSD ER projections, IN TEN YEARS the current projected Liberty catchment leads to a Liberty enrollment of about 1,250....the partial Lincoln and Wickham are hard to parse, but it's certainly projected by ICCSD to be between 1,200 and 1,300.

If you then use the same growth RATE past 2026, it will take another EIGHT YEARS to fill Liberty to 1,500.

That's 18 years, folks.

Meanwhile, West has been full since Year 2 and City since Year 5.

It's not all about FRL, it's about CAPACITY. We are building a 3rd high school to relieve overcrowding, but not relieving overcrowding.

Students have to be sent up there. It must be done.

Jeff said...

Ted - Where do you think the optimal location would have been to build the new high school?

Ted said...


I agree. Liberty could be filled if you simply keep going south until you get the right amount of students.

Yes, it would be "white", and "rich".

As a white and rich person, I'm not comfortable with that. By the way, neither is the state or federal government.

Further, anyone who is comfortable with that prospect is either 1) ignorant of the adverse community and student effects, or 2) just doesn't care.

If Liberty were filled in that manner, case histories (remember, this has already happened all over the country) say that the the following would occur:

1. Student academic performance at West and City would drop in increasing and accelerating levels; there is a lot of data that exists that suggest it drops for nearly all students, FRL and non-FRL alike;

2. Many home values will drop, which of course reduces the tax rolls

3. "White Flight" will occur in increasing and accelerating rates towards Liberty.

4. We will find ourselves in no time - certainly less than 10 years - needing to bus students south to fill City and West.

I also believe that the 2017 GO Bond will fail, no matter the small projects promised to the City and West catchment schools. It won't be close.

Anonymous said...

1250 to 1300 kids in a 1500 seat school (if the bond passes) is relieving definitely overcrowding. City and West do not have room for 1250 to 1300 kids.

Actual revised high school enrollment projections for the area are needed.

When you say City has been full since Year 5, are you referring to 2022 when Liberty gets the 500 seat addition? Maybe that will be a good time to move more students, provided the bond passes.

Ted said...


Down near Hills.


I would think somewhere just north of an intersection of 80, like 1st street before you get to the circle at holiday or dubuque street near waterworks, or maybe along Oakdale.

Then again, it doesn't seem to matter much to the demagogues. Kirkwood (itself, not all students) is 10 minutes from both West and Liberty, yet many seem to be viewing it as a radical change and hurdle for those families. It's just not. They are on a bus anyway. I think it is actually easier to go north to Liberty versus south to West.

Ted said...

Anonymous 10:22,

There is no doubt that Liberty should relieve overcrowding...but it's not FOR A VERY LONG TIME based on the Tuesday vote.

West will be overcrowded YEAR 2. It's at 98% when Liberty opens. That's not relief. That's a waste of taxpayer $ on both construction and perhaps more importantly operational costs.

City will be overcrowded (and West staggeringly overcrowded) before the Liberty addition is built.

So....you want to shift students now, or in 2022?

We can keep going back and forth, but NO ONE has disputed my point: In order to relieve overcrowding and keep Liberty moving towards 1,500, it can't be just the ES areas the board approved Tuesday. Someone HAS TO come from the south.

RK said...

Ted, you are making it sound like Wickham is closer to West and we are mining in the West area to attempt to fill Liberty. Wickham is much closer to Liberty and travel to Liberty is on safer roads so it would be logical that Wickham would go to Liberty if it weren't for the fact that we are trying to balance FRL.

Anonymous said...

Ted - if capacity is such a priority then why did we build Alexander at half capacity (with 2024-2025 enrollment projection at 65% capacity). Hoover East will open with similar enrollment and capacity projections. Same with Bourlag. Then we have schools like Garner, Van Allen and Penn getting expansions and still being over or right at capacity in projections. Are you saying it is okay to build in room for expansion on the East side because we have to protect the status of Iowa City, but not okay for North Liberty? I do not understand your logic.

Anonymous said...

Overcrowding will be relieved immediately. Hallelujah! Both high schools are STAGGERINGLY overcrowded TODAY. Relief happens for City and West even if another elementary schools is not moved there. Liberty WILL keep moving toward 1000 and then 1500. IF the bond doesn't pass, all the schools (EVERY LEVEL) will be STAGGERINGLY overcrowded and some won't get some very critical updates. Why threaten the bond given your broad concerns about the district?

Do you also see partially filled elementary schools as a waste of taxpayer dollars?

Small projects in the east and west? Really? I see many expensive and critical projects everywhere.

Anonymous said...

"I would think somewhere just north of an intersection of 80, like 1st street before you get to the circle at holiday or dubuque street near waterworks, or maybe along Oakdale. "

None of these are good options.

Kirkwood at Liberty would make Liberty overcrowded. Don't do that to Kirkwood.

Anonymous said...

Bussing is important to elementary and junior high and only some 9th grade families and even less 10 through 12 grade families.

Bussing is a lot less important for most middle and upper income families with 10th through 12th grade students (and even some 9th grade students) who are driving. Those kids often drive themselves to school or if they are doing activities before or after school and don't have a car their parents or friends drop them off. This would be true at any of the 3 high schools.

Some of the north of Dubuque St. kids could be moved south to City High. Most of the high school kids aren't going to walk to school if they are more than a couple of blocks away anyway, especially in the winter. They are not far from any of the three high schools and the district should only pay for bussing for kids who ride the bus.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't the bond fail? A history of dishonesty and imprudent decisions by the administration, going back at least as far as the decision to close the claimed structurally deficient Roosevelt, which after closure somehow became structurally adequate for another use. Creating excessive costs by closing Hoover but then building new Hoover. Building Alexandre where it won't fill for years, if ever.

The only sane thing to do is to throw out the misguided facilities master plan and build new projects, one at a time, when and where they are needed.

If anyone thinks that a bond issue will pass for open ended projects without a clear commitment to build specific, identified and essential projects they should reassess.

And a plan which results in disproportionate economic balances between schools is an invitation for the district's large number of progressive voters to vote no.

A new superintendant perhaps would be a way to restore some credibility.

As I see it, the district is nearly out of money for new construction. It needs the bond, and now needs to concentrate on earning the confidence of the voters, which by no means will be easy.

Earl said...

Anonymous 3:18 - Throwing out the FMP - no. Just no. Fights over every single thing. Bad bad bad idea.

Ted said...


Where did I "make it sound like" Wickham is closer to West?

Yes, Wickham is closer to Liberty.

Yes, Wickham is going to west "only" to balance FRL; or more accurately, not have FRL be hugely disparate.

Ted said...

Anonymous and 10;42,

Interesting how you (if you are the same Anon posting many times) never acknowledge or dispute any actual numbers or facts I state.

I did not favor Borlaug (bad timing, HORRIBLE location).
I did not favor the timing and size of Alexander.
I do favor Hoover east (that was long overdue...ICCSD actual had a parcel of land nearby for 10 years and let it go).
I don't favor closing Hoover (getting rid of capacity when we need capacity is silly).
I favor ALL the additions and new schools up north Garner, Van Allen, Penn Addition.

I FAVOR LIBERTY, though I wish it were a little closer to 80.

But we are building Liberty and then having West at 98% DAY ONE, and City at 88% on day one. How can that make sense? It makes even less sense when it is empty AND low FRL.

Anonymous said...

Liberty will be at least 90% full by year 3. It would be a mistake to assign another 300 plus student elementary school there before we know if the bond will pass.

After the bond passes, then I suggest we look at options for additional students at Liberty. If we put more students there before the addition is definitely going to be done, then we are looking at a very overcrowded school per Liebig's previous post.

Anonymous said...

Ted, remember that many juniors/seniors will stay at City/West rather than move to a new school in the first two years after Liberty opens. That will skew City/West's numbers high and Liberty's low for those first two years. You need to look at the numbers in 2019, once those classes move through to have a true picture of each school.

Ted said...

Anon @ 11;42,

Thanks for the real estate consult.

Kirkwood fits at Liberty, though it would make it 90% full by the 4th year, so we would really need the addition to be timely.

Are you forgetting that if Kirkwood stays at West, it is 98% full on day one?

Sooo...do you want:

1. Full, 40+ FRL at West
2. Less full, 30% FRL at a new school.

Bus ride the the exact same duration.

Kirkwood is a great solution for Liberty. I find it incredible that they don't want it. I guarantee if you rented some buses, then simulated the ride to Liberty with a bunch of K parents and kids, then toured Liberty and looked at plans/renderings, nearly all would choose Liberty.

Ted said...

Anonymous at 11;10,

What do you want? Can you express it? I have expressed EXACTLY what I want and WHY - back with ICCSD numbers - over and over here.

1. Do you agree with the vote last Tuesday, and therefore the numbers posted by the CO last Wednesday?

2. If not, what would you retract/amend?

Let's see if you can do this: names, numbers, timing, justification.

Anonymous said...

The issue with Kirkwood isn't busing kids to Liberty v. West for the school day. It's the difficulty of getting kids to/from school for extracurriculars, parents getting to the school for conferences, etc. Easier to find transportation to West than to Liberty for those things. No public transportation in North Liberty right now. There may be a van running a route soon, but it will only run within NL.

Anonymous said...

What will the numbers be at West, City, and Liberty in 2018 and 2019, when all the kids have transitioned over to Liberty and Liberty has athletic fields? West at 98% on DAY ONE is absolutely acceptable because the schools are in transition.

Why do you say Liberty will be "empty" on DAY 1? That is incorrect. Is that backed by ICCSD numbers?

"Thanks for the real estate counsel." Apology accepted.

Anonymous said...

What is the latest capacity for
1. West
2. City
3. Liberty High

What was the source of the capacity numbers?

What is the realistic capacity for each high school?

Is the current plan to build athletic fields at Liberty and is there current money to do this?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

City = 1443 and will get 150 seat addition if bond passes
West = 1684
Liberty will open with 1000 and will be 1500 if bond passes.

Consultants were hired to determine the capacity. Capacity is based on the actual size of the classrooms and how they are used. This is a much more accurate calculation than the number of rooms times 23.

Athletic fields are dependent on the bond passing.

Ted said...

Anon @ 5:16,

BTW, it would be nice to know if there are several Anons or just one or two. I use Ted (not my real name!) so there is a thread.

1. West will be over capacity in 2018, and looks like 100+ over capacity in 2019. City looks like they would be over capacity in 2020. No one knows for sure, obviously, because of voluntary transfers, moves in/out of district, etc.

2. So that's it? If there is bus service from Liberty to Kirkwood neighborhood you're OK? That's easy. BTW, ICCSD is investigating how many K area high school kids use the city buses to get to/from school off hours. The preliminary thought is that it is near zero. Again, 1) Liberty is the same distance away, and 2) there will will before, after, and activity district buses. You will NOT be able to make the it's harder to get there argument. It's not. Lori Roetlin's "sick kid in the middle of the day" example was ridiculous. How was that student going to get home from West?

'3. Show me where I said "empty". I don't generally write like that. Everything I have written has been baked by numbers. NOTHING you have written has.

'4. I didn't apologize, just sarcastically compliment you on your comprehensive, fact based "none of those are good options" comment.

5. It's always telling to me when people people use time markers like "when Liberty has athletic fields". Is that a thing? Is that when it becomes a real high school? I never hear "when we have our first musical" or "when we can publish our first school newspaper", or "when we have a full band or orchestra" or "when we have show choir". If my children were going to Liberty in the next 5-6 years, that's ALL I would be asking.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we need actual enrollment projections based on the new boundaries. We also need to take into account that year one and year two will be transition years for Liberty. Good point though - wonder how many kids will be coming back to the district since we finally will have less-crowded high schools.

"But we are building Liberty and then having West at 98% DAY ONE, and City at 88% on day one. How can that make sense? It makes even less sense when it is empty AND low FRL." EMPTY. You use words like EMPTY, NOTHING, ALWAYS, NEVER and MUST frequently.

"I would think somewhere just north of an intersection of 80, like 1st street before you get to the circle at holiday or dubuque street near waterworks, or maybe along Oakdale. "

None of these areas have the acreage necessary. Thought that was quite obvious. First St. before you get to the traffic circle at Holiday - are you referring to rock quarry? Plus that is probably 1-2 miles from West. Dubuque St near waterworks - again rock quarry. Along Oakdale - the golf course maybe? Tuck it in beside Wickham? Bad idea. I, in return, compliment you on your fact-based suggestions.

" Everything I have written has been baked by numbers. NOTHING you have written has. " I would agree most of what you have written is baked. Your location suggestions for the high school certainly weren't backed by numbers.

When Liberty has athetic fields, varsity teams and all juniors and seniors, the enrollment will increase. Juniors and seniors are staying at West or outside the district until Liberty has those offerings. What will the enrollment be at Liberty, West, and City year 2 and year 3.

Glad to see the district is making a firm, long-term commitment to before school, after school, and all activity busses. Does that include parent conferences and other school events? Expensive!!!

Ted, you claim everything you say is backed by numbers. That is far from the case. You need to go back and review your claims in this long and tedious thread. It's more like you are throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.

Did you ever explain with facts and details the following? "North Liberty got their high school (although their tax dollars only paid for about 15% of it."

Ted said...

Anon at 10:18,

I asked at 4:52 yesterday and I will ask again: What do you want?

You call my post's tedious and question my numbers and data, yet you say nothing of what you want.

Are you happy with the vote last Tuesday? Are there other changes you would like?

This has been a one way exchange: I propose, you critique. I take a position and try to justify it, you critique.

Let's switch roles,shall we? You start. What do you want?

Anonymous said...

Ted - that's simple, he/she wants Liberty to rename itself "White Lightning" consistent with its racial makeup and for it to become a semi private school based on its SES makeup.

Anonymous said...

"Ted" - it is apparent that you are on here to troll. I think that most have become tired of your droning responses and stats - I know I have. I am sure it was fun while it lasted...

Anonymous said...

Wickham White Wizards, Shimek White Sharks, Mann Palominos.....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:00

Right on! When someone comes in and make outlandish accusations and "baits" one side of town, they are best ignored. It's manipulative and divisive.

Ted said...

Anonymous at 3:00,

I didn't know it was trolling to ask for a position on boundaries.

My position is stick with the May 2015 Secondary boundaries. I think I have stated my reasons.

I think the Thunder will the series with the Warriors. That's not trolling, or a hot take, or an insult to Warriors fans. I have my reasons.

Do you have a position?

Anonymous said...