Campaign Description

Here's what this campaign is about:

Ensuring equal opportunities in curriculum and programming for all students

Providing our students and faculty with safe, healthy, technology-driven learning environments

Committing to our neighborhood schools

Guaranteeing responsible stewardship of public funds

Celebrating the diversity within our district

Engaging parents to become active participants in the schools

Making data-driven decisions with measurable results

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ah yes, the North Liberty Question....

One not at all suprising frequent question I’ve encountered over the course of the last few months, especially from my friends in North Liberty is, “What are your thoughts on the new high school?”
Here’s my reply to a recent Facebook inquiry of that nature….

Regarding North Liberty, I understand the crisis of confidence in the district to follow through on the North Liberty high school.  I’m excited that once infrastructure needs (sewer, roads, water, etc) are taken care of, there will finally be motion forward on getting spades in the ground and starting construction. I suspect that, even then, folks will be skeptical until the doors finally open.

As it is, I am told by the facilities people at the ICCSD that it is highly unlikely that a high school could be completed prior to 2018….and that’s if everything goes right on schedule. I suspect North High will be completed somewhere between 2018 and 2020.  I sincerely hope no later than that, as there are too many young children in North Liberty that by then, will be matriculating into high school.  That being said, I am not a facility planner, an engineer or an architect. These are only estimations. 

With the Facilities Master Plan that was passed on July 23, there are numerous projects that need to occur to accommodate the current and projected growth of our entire district at ALL levels. Passing that plan was critical to getting started right away. No plan, no construction.  That being stated, I’m anxious to see the timetable that Mr Murley will present in November.

One major focus that we should have at this point is to work to regain public confidence because much of this stems from the lack thereof.  Whether it’s a lack of a high school in North Liberty, un-air conditioned old elementary schools, lack of new elementary schools in areas of continuous growth, or repeated discussions of facility closure, people throughout the district feel (rightfully so) a lack of trust. The best way to regain that trust is to actually follow through and complete the projects we have committed to. Doing it with transparency every step of the way is essential as well.

Consider that during the massive Kinnick Stadium project on the U of I campus a few years ago, there were active webcams monitoring the progress through all phases of the construction. I would love to see inexpensive webcams utilized the same way throughout our district so that people can log on and see the projects occurring and can watch with excitement and anticipation as projects begin and progress toward completion.

In addition, I’d like to see a comprehensive chronological list of projects that are planned with start dates and completed dates listed prominently on the district web site. Member so the public could then monitor how the district is keeping on the path to our future. Concrete and tangible progress is hard not to be excited about.

If the end result of our district-wide face lift is that all corners of the ICCSD have the new, expanded or renovated schools to accommodate growth and provide and equitable educational experience, then we will have regained the trust of the entire district. Right now, we have two of the top 1000 public high schools in the nation. Our goal should be three.

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