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“Alternative” proposals for Harrison Elementary School to be presented by CRCSD Superintendent



Cedar Rapids, Iowa – An elementary school in Cedar Rapids that was supposed to be demolished might suddenly have another purpose.

Following the resounding rejection of a bond issue by voters, the Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) sent out a survey to the local population seeking their thoughts on the district. Attitudes regarding Harrison Elementary and the bond issue were included in the results.

9,043 persons answered the poll out of 59, 093 who received it, which the district deemed a “amazing” response rate. That, according to the district’s hired analyst, is sufficient to offer his forecasts on any upcoming bond referendums a very high accuracy rate.

The district put out a $220 million bond referendum in November, asking voters to support it to build a new middle school and renovate the existing middle and high schools. Voting “no” in the referendum resulted in a 61% failure rate.

The poll’s results, which inquired about voting behavior, were in line with those of the election. Of the participants who cast ballots, 59% reported abstaining from voting.

In the study, respondents were also asked to explain their vote choices. The primary argument was that there would have been too much tax impact and the adjustment would have been too costly. Among all respondents, 71% said as much.

The district’s lack of trust (64%), was the second factor.

Closing Harrison Elementary School was the third factor (42%). Although Harrison’s closure was not on the bond ballot, officials stated at the School Board meeting on Monday that the data was new and, at least in Harrison’s case, unequivocal.

“Even though Harrison wasn’t on the bond, it seems that the way the information is coming out, that it had an impact in the community, and I think that as we do a little bit more digging, we’ll realize that the lack of trust is maybe bundled in with that,” said Board Member David Tominsky.

A survey question about Harrison had four possible answers: renovate Harrison, replace Harrison with a new school, say “I would support either option,” and remain undecided. Support for preserving the building was strongest. The analyst noted that the only way to reach a majority was to include those who said they would support either choice or remodeling in their response.

After their meeting on Monday night, the school board authorized the superintendent to develop other plans for Harrison Elementary and present them at a later time.