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CRSD Getting Closer To Magnet School

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) The Cedar Rapids Community School District is getting closer to a decision to move forward with creating a Magnet School in the city. Magnet Schools teach the basics to students but within a themed curriculum, like S.T.E.M. programs or in the Arts.

Over the past three months, the district has been holding Community Conversations, and the last one is tomorrow night.

These meetings were strictly exploratory, serving as a way for the district to present its idea and for the community to provide input. The overall feeling from both the district and parents who have attended is pretty positive.

"People are either openly excited about this type of innovation or at least open to saying, "If you can answer these kinds of questions, we can get these kinds of things taken care of, we would be supportive, said Associate Superintendent of the Cedar Rapids Community School District Dr. Trace Pickering.

"I think it's a good idea. It gives kids and parents the opportunity to let their students learn in a way that would best suit them, said Scott Gay, who is a parent of children in the district.

The district brought the plan to the community in its infant stages, with virtually nothing set in stone.

"The process was really interesting that it wasn't, "this is what we're doing or how we're doing it," but, "We want your input, your ideas. What are the good ideas about it, what are the bad ideas, said Gay.

Thanks to that input, the district is considering a Dual-Language Emerson program, and maybe providing some additional classes online.

"Where we think a little beyond the walls of the school and think a little more virtually about it, said Dr. Pickering.

One potential roadblock is logistics - how to bus kids from all over Cedar Rapids to their Magnet School and how to pay for it. Dr. Pickering says it'll fall at least partially to the community to help fund a Magnet School.

"It's certainly going to be beyond the current school budget which is why we're going to have to look to the whole community we if want to have a magnet sooner rather than later, said Dr. Pickering

"If it's something that's important, the District and the community will find a way to fund it, said Gay.

The last chance to be at one of the Community Conversations is tomorrow night from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Washington High School Cafeteria.

The School Improvement Advisory Committee will consider moving forward with the steps to create a Magnet School next month. They are expected to make a recommendation to the Board at the School Board Meeting on January 22nd.
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