Elementary Schools face closings in Cedar Rapids Core Neighborhoods

Schools in the core neighborhoods are facing closings and the community does not want them closed. The signs that line the streets in Cedar Rapids on both sides of the river speak in volumes. People do not want their neighborhood schools closed.

I do agree that Monroe needs to be closed. While I am not against open enrollment I am not in favor of shipping only kindergarteners to this school when there is several high crime apartment buildings across the street. Many of these children could attend these schools that face closings. I wanted my oldest children to go to Harrison Elementary when we lived on the NE side of town fifteen years ago. I was able to enroll my children in Kindergarten at Harrison and I got them to school every day at my expense—not the expense of the taxpayers.

Now, this building going up across the street from an area that floods every year is a problem, not because of the concept of the different divisions coming together, it is a problem because it’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around it. I don’t care where the money came from what I care about is how it looks and it looks bad when the administrators are getting brand new buildings when we’re losing schools.

I called Ms. Day with questions about the cost of the new administration building before I sent her the emails that follow. I told Ms. Day that I had a child at Harrison.

From: Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/ [mailto:sibzianna@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:08 AM
To: Lday@cr.ia.k12.us
Subject: Question

How many dollars do district records show the district expects, or estimates, the fully staffed new administration building to cost per year?

Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/

—–Original Message—–
From: Day Laurel
To: ‘Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/’;
Sent: Tue, Jan 31, 2012 3:35 pm
Subject: RE: Question

Thank you for your email. I visited with appropriate District staff regarding your question. Our Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer do not expect any additional costs to be incurred for staffing as we are relocating existing staff at temporary locations to the new administrative and operations building.

Laurel Day

From: Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/ [mailto:sibzianna@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 5:12 PM
To: Day Laurel
Subject: Re: Question


Could you provide me with specifics please? Is there a website for this information?

Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/

From: Day Laurel
To: ‘Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/’;
Cc: Benson David ; Graham Steve
Sent: Wed, Feb 1, 2012 7:15 am
Subject: RE: Question

I’m not sure what you mean by “specifics”. The District staff that we currently have located in temporary buildings due to the 2008 flood, will be relocated to the new facility this spring. We are not expecting to hire additional staff. If you’d like to visit with me by phone, so that I better understand your request, please contact me at 319/558-2223.


From: Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/ Hide
Add to: To Do, Calendar
To: LDay
Bcc: Yes, people were Bcc’d
Date: Wed, Feb 1, 2012 3:56 pm


Let me try to re-frame the question- what are the line item costs for staff and operation of the new administration building for one year?

Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/

From:Day Laurel Hide

To: ‘Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/’

Cc: Benson David Graham Steve

Date: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 1:46 pm


Thank you for your patience as it has taken me time to discuss your request for information with appropriate District personnel. Per District Procedure 1008a “Request for Public Records”, I’d like to inform you that there will be a fee associated with the retrieval, and potentially copying fee, of records requested detailing the line item costs for staff and operation of the new administration building for one year. The information is not readily available in an existing public record; therefore, District staff would be required to extract, assimilate and/or interpret information/data. At this time, after visiting with our staff, we are estimating up to 1-2 hours of their time to generate the information. Please review the attached document and let us know how you’d like to proceed.


The pdf she sent me was:
Request for Public Records
Purpose This procedure implements Iowa Code chapter 22 regarding access to public records. The purpose of this
procedure is to facilitate public access to open records, while safeguarding records against damage or destruction.
Open records are those records, documents, tapes or other information stored or preserved in any medium of or
belonging to the district, which are not otherwise authorized or required by law to be kept confidential.
Location A request for access to a record should be directed to the Board Secretary or to the Community Relations Office or to the particular district office where the record is maintained (for example, to the building principal’s office,the Business Services office, the Human Resources office). If the requester does not know the location of the record, the request shall be directed to the Board Secretary, 346 2nd Avenue SW., Cedar Rapids, IA 52404. If a request for access to a record is misdirected, district personnel will promptly forward the request to the appropriate person within the district.
Hours Open records shall be made available for examination from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Monday through Friday, except for holidays and recesses.
Requests for access to open records may be made in person, in writing (including electronically), or by telephone. If the request is made in person, the requester shall not be required to identify himself/herself, except insofar as to meet security procedures of the building. Mail or telephone requests shall include the name, address and telephone number of the person requesting the record. All requests shall identify the records in sufficient detail to enable the district to reasonably identify the requested records. A person shall not be required to give a reason for requesting an open record.
Response to Request Access to an open record shall be promptly provided unless the size or nature of the request makes prompt access infeasible or for other extenuating circumstances, such as the custodian of the record is not then available. Access to an open record may be delayed for one of the purposes authorized by Iowa Code section 22.8(4) or 22.10(4) (for example, to ascertain if a record is a public record or to seek opinion of counsel). The custodian of the record shall promptly give notice orally or in writing to the person requesting the record of the reason for the delay and an estimate of the length of the delay.
Copying A reasonable number of copies of an open record may be made in the district’s office (see fee schedule
below). If copying equipment is not available in the office where an open record is maintained, the custodian shall permit its examination in that office and arrange to have copies promptly made elsewhere.
Security of Records No person may, without permission from the custodian of the record, search or remove any
record from district files. The custodian of the record or a designee of the custodian shall supervise examination and copying of records. Records shall be protected from damage and disorganization.
Fees No fees shall be charged for a reasonable number of copies of current agendas for meetings of the district’s Board of Directors, for publications the district designates for dissemination to the public free of charge as long as they are still available, or for forms necessary for a person to transact business with the district or to receive an education (such as employment, application forms, student enrollment forms, free and reduced priced meal applications, open enrollment or voluntary permit forms, or referrals for special education).
Copies of records may be made for members of the public on district copy machines or from electronic storage
systems at cost. When the mailing of copies of records is requested, the actual costs of such mailing may also be charged to the requester.
Procedure 1008.a
Page 2
An hourly fee may be charged for actual district expenses in retrieving, supervising the examination and copying requested records, which is in addition to the copy fee. In addition, costs for retrieval and copying of public information stored in electronic storage systems may be charged to the requester.
The district is not required to extract, assimilate, or interpret information or data, or to create public records; however,if the district agrees to perform any of these functions, the person making the request may also be charged an hourly fee.
Advance Deposits When the estimated total fee chargeable exceeds $25.00, or when a requester has previously failed to pay a fee charged under this regulation, the record custodian may require a requester to make an advance deposit to cover all or a part of the estimated fee.
Fee Schedule
Photocopy Fee 1 – 50 pages: No Charge
More than 50 pages:10 cents per page (including for pages 1-50)
Retrieval, Supervision, Copying Fee 1 – 30 minutes:No Charge
More than 30 minutes:$20.00 per hour, rounded to the
Nearest ¼ hour (including the first 30 minutes)
Electronic Storage System Retrieval
Actual Costs
Mailing Fee
If more than $1.00: Actual Costs
In making a determination for charges, a series of requests from one person or organization in a 30-day period or a series of requests from persons in a single organization may be aggregated.
Documentation of Requests To the extent feasible requests for public records will be documented by the Community Relations Office. Documentation serves as confirmation of requests, and the response of the district.
Code of Iowa: Chapter 22

From:Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/ Hide
Bcc: yes people were Bcc’d
Date: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 4:30 pm


The district, at no cost, provided the amount saved if each of 4 buildings was closed. Are you telling me the district doesn’t know, and can’t report from existing records, how much it costs to open and operate the new administration building?? How did the school district prepare a budget without this information readily available in its records? It makes no sense, for even an inept bean counter, to take 1 to 2 hours to provide the requested information—using computers. What is the district trying to hide?

Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/

Automatic reply: question

From: Day Laurel Hide

To: Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/

Date: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 4:34 pm

I will be out of the office most of the day on Friday, February 3rd. For assistance, please feel free to contact Jean McDonough at 319/558-1203. Thank you.

RE: question
From:Day Laurel Hide
To:’Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/’
Cc:Graham Steve Benson David Hughes Marcia
Mon, Feb 6, 2012 2:58 pm


I am forwarding your request for additional information to our Chief Financial Officer, Steve Graham.


RE: question
From:Graham Steve Hide
To:Day Laurel ‘Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/’
Cc:Benson David Hughes Marcia Graham Steve
Date:Mon, Feb 6, 2012 3:27 pm


Attached is a document that provides all current budgeted expenditures, (which includes all wages and benefit costs as well as all related expenditures for services, supplies, equipment that comprise the full departmental operating budgets) for all departments that will be relocating to the ELS this spring. Hopefully you will find this information useful. Thank you.

Steve Graham
Executive Director – Business Services
Cedar Rapids Community School District
907 15th Street SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Phone: 319-558-1237
Fax: 319-558-2074

I’m not the only one seeking answers


Video of the shrine and some kids


About Ajai Dittmar

There is nothing 'radical' about wanting to save your historical neighborhood! There is nothing 'negative' for wanting an 'outside investigation' done a public service that has had a lot of embarrassing news, especially when they don't do their jobs! There is nothing 'odd' about wanting politicians to uphold the Constitution they swear to uphold when they are sworn into office! Follow @sibzianna View all posts by Ajai Dittmar

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