November 10, 2023 at 10:10 a.m.

Parents, community give input on Iowa-Grant schools

The Iowa-Grant School District hosted its second annual Family and Community Town Supper (FACTS) on October 26.

Residents, parents, and staff met over a meal  to envision the preferred future for the Iowa-Grant School District. Superintendent Michael Shimshak delivered a brief overview of district finances, noting a return to a balanced budget and the costs associated with short term borrowing when a district has an inadequate fund balance. 

After touring some of the high school’s aging athletic facilities, participants highlighted pride points, challenges and offered their ideas on solutions. 

Shimshak observed there is a great deal of pride in the Iowa-Grant School District, from the appreciation of a high number of veteran teachers who are alumni, to the 5-star rating of the elementary school year after year, to the strong sense of community and commitment to the district. Residents were also proud of the wrestling team, the strong FFA, and most recently, the 100% success rate for students in AP courses. 

Community members identified several challenges, which are not unique to Iowa-Grant: aging facilities, declining enrollment, open enrollment transfers-out, and a lack of housing for families wishing to become residents. 

Suggestions emerged from the participants of working more closely with Highland Schools, to scheduling a referendum, to encouraging more volunteerism, to doing a better job with public relations. Exit surveys were positive and indicated strong support to hold more of these events and encourage more participation. 

The board of education plans to discuss the FACTS input at its next regular meeting on November 13.