‘Small communities are dying without a primary school,’ Walcott parents worry

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The Davenport School District is weighing its options for the future of some of its campuses. The district began by responding to a survey that was sent to families in the district over the past week.

The survey explains enrollment changes in the district in recent years. The district says it will have to deal with a loss of students over the past 20 years by closing buildings, consolidating operations and carrying out renovations.

A proposal would change Walcott Elementary School from kindergarten to eighth grade to middle school.

Local 4 News spoke with two parents, Jessica Aubry and Kim Hewlett, whose children attend Walcott Elementary School. They expressed concern about the future of their children’s education and concern about the new Davenport Community School District investigation.

“It’s extremely frustrating not having all the information, it feels like there’s a puzzle and there are pieces missing. So you can’t make an informed decision based on some of these investigative questions if you don’t know all the information you have,” Aubry said.

Both families moved to the area for neighborhood benefits and don’t know what to expect next.

“Because we don’t know the limits, that’s another thing that frustrates us. The investigation and briefings leading up to this decision did not include what will happen to our children next,” Hewlett said.

They find it difficult to make a clear decision about how to answer the survey questions and feel discouraged by the school district’s potential plans.

“It says ‘this will require adjusting school attendance limits’, but doesn’t tell you where those limits are going to be. I don’t know where my sons are going to go to school,” Aubry said.

Families would prefer everything to stay the same.

“I hope council will take into consideration…that it’s a domino effect on our community. So if elementary closes, how long until they say middle school is worthless and closes? Small communities are dying without a primary school,” Aubry said.

“We don’t have to follow the cookie-cutter K-5 and junior high model that works in so many areas. This city is unique and different and I think that’s okay,” Hewlett said.

The survey results will be presented at the Davenport School Board meeting on November 7.

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