ICCSD board reviews draft of new voluntary transfer policy, readies for vote at next meeting

ICCSD board reviews draft of new voluntary transfer policy, readies for vote at next meeting
KCJJ Staff

The Iowa City Community Schools board is nearing its decision on restricting voluntary transfers among the district’s elementary schools.

The board spent time Tuesday brushing up on the updated policy, with a vote expected at the next meeting on Oct. 23.

Superintendent Stephen Murley says they wanted to make sure the new policy was readily available to the board and the public.

“We continue to get feedback from folks via email and phone calls. And part of the idea is to ensure that there’s plenty of opportunity for the public to come in and share their thoughts with you.”

The board has put forward the possibility of essentially ending voluntary transfers at the elementary level as an attempt to better manage equity concerns in the district. Information provided prior to the last meeting showed Kirkwood Elementary had more than 20% of its population transfer out in 2017-18 and Wood Elementary was at nearly 20%.

Board president Janet Godwin notes the discussion on ending voluntary transfers is one of several possible moves, including redistricting, pairing schools, and creating magnet schools.

“This work is one piece of a broader set of initiatives the board is taking on around ensuring equitable learning environments for all of our students in the district, it’s part of our broader effort to achieve our equity goals,” Godwin said. “So, this is one piece. And we’ll be doing more along with this.”

Under the proposed updated policy, some students will be grandfathered in, including those approved during the 2014-15 school year, those at a School In Need of Assistance designated school in 2015-16, and students receiving special services, among others. Voluntary transfers for students who would help with demographic balance will also be considered.

Before the board takes a vote on the idea, it has scheduled a public forum on the topic for Thursday night at Northwest Junior High. That forum is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. in the building’s library.