New school year, more deadlines: Davenport schools still trying to correct state violations

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Superintendent says district has reached nearly 61% completion for second batch of violations

Davenport students started their new school year today as district officials marked a milestone in addressing their state violations.

It started more than a year ago in April of 2018.

That’s when Iowa’s education board hit davenport schools with 11 violations after conducting in audit.

The state board said in November that the district wasn’t making enough progress to fix the problems and ordered another audit.

That latest audit over March and April of 2019 found 14 new violations.

Many of those needed to be addressed by the end of August.

Superintendent Robert Kobylski told school board members tonight that they went from a 13% to 60.9% completion of Phase II audit violations this month.

Two of the biggest problems from the Phase I audit were in special education and student racial inequality.

Most of those issues had to be corrected by April of this year, and they were.

The second audit found more issues in those same areas, like no action plan for discrimination complaints and a lack of understanding of the law when it comes to students with disabilities.

Kobylski says they addressed most of those violations so quickly because they were mostly “HR” issues.

“Making sure we have proper evaluation procedures all through our organization, making sure that our teachers and administrators and all of our staff members have a thorough understanding of our bullying and harassment policy,” Kobylski says.

He says there are more training sessions planned throughout the year to help staff understand different cultures and address disproportionality.

Kobylski says a new special education plan is also expected to roll out in a couple weeks.

One of the biggest challenges ahead, he says, is the budget.

The district has been operating in the red and overspending it’s legal limit for several years, now.

District officials have to appear before the state’s budget review committee in October for a progress report on that.

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