Amy Williamson, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education, says the audit could determine whether the Davenport Community Schools will keep its accreditation. “If they meet the conditions of that corrective action plan, they can have their full accreditation back,” Williamson says. “What can happen is districts can fail to meet those conditions, and can be dissolved.” State education officials are interviewing teachers, principals, staff and parents in addition to going through financial records.
Officials ordered the review after deciding local administrators weren’t moving fast enough to address multiple violations of federal law. Williamson says a previous audit found a disproportionate number of students of color in special education, and that the district disproportionately disciplined them.
“We want to leave here with a plan that we have developed along with the district leadership team, who we’ve been working with for the past few days to cement what changes they would like to see in place,” Williamson says. “We will stick with them through these changes.” The department is slated to release a final report in March. Depending on the findings, state officials could uphold Davenport’s accreditation, grant conditional accreditation, or dissolve the district.
The district has about 1,400 teachers and more than 15,000 students.
(Thanks to Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)