Letter: Facilities plan must have community support

Thank you to the Cedar Rapids School Board for allowing the public to express their thoughts during the Dec. 11 board meeting regarding the proposed Master Facilities Plan.

As someone who took the opportunity to publicly address the board, my nerves were certainly on full display. Yet, I knew the importance of sharing my concerns regarding the impact of this plan on the future of Cedar Rapids. As more residents spoke, it became increasingly clear that the proposal to close eight neighborhood elementary schools has sparked widespread concern about not only the impact on students and families attending those schools, but also the long-term impact on the future of our entire community.

As core neighborhoods face school closures, residents are beginning to question why the district did not take more concrete steps to engage the community in the development of their plan. I respect and understand the important role the board plays in making difficult decisions regarding school facilities. However, when the outcome of a decision will literally reshape our city, public support must be the mandate.

Many residents, myself included, are enthusiastic about the challenge of developing a plan to improve our schools. I ask the school district to help us, help you. If we commit to working together, I am confident we can identify a strong plan for moving our schools, and our city forward in a way that will benefit current and future residents for many years to come.

Jane Harney

Cedar Rapids

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