By Addison Martin
The Iowa City School Board on Tuesday re-elected Chris Lynch as president and selected LaTasha DeLoach as the new vice president.
Lynch, who won on vote of 4-3, has been the president of the board for the past year; he was nominated by former board Vice President Brian Kirschling. Lynch has been on the School Board for two years now and has lived in the Iowa City area since 1999.
DeLoach has lived in the city for almost 20 years and is a graduate of district schools. Her term expires in 2019. She is also a social worker in the area.
Board member Phil Hemingway nominated Chris Liebig for both positions; he reluctantly accepted, then voted against himself for the vice-president position.
“I am going to entertain that idea,” he said, in response to the nomination for board president.
Following more approval of past policies, board members unanimously passed a motion to open discussion on the voluntary-transfer issue. As has been the case at many School Board meetings since the change of attendance areas of the district, the discussion of open enrollment and voluntary transfer spirited.
The motion to offer North Kirkwood Middle School to West High and Alexander Middle School to City High without transportation failed in a 4-3 vote.
“This has been an ongoing issue, and I think we came to agree to open secondary voluntary transfer,” Lynch said. “I think there’s been a lot of public support of that, and we certainly listen to the people involved.”
Assistant Superintendent Matt Degner presented a recommendation to allow secondary voluntary transfer as long as the switch did not put the schools over 95 percent capacity. Board members argued that the transfers should not put schools under capacity.
“I just can’t disadvantage kids like that,” DeLoach said, regarding the potential for equity losses that can be caused by an under-capacity school.
Paul Roesler, the newest board member, was in favor of Degner’s suggestion.
“I’m in favor of this plan,” he said. “I think this covers a lot of those areas and takes it out of the board’s hand of trying to write policies and having to write laundry lists of why people can or can’t transfer, and leaving it up to the administration.”
DeLoach said the issue should be something that is continually revisited, following the applications for voluntary transfer and looking at how the numbers would add up.
“I think it’s just something we need to keep an eye on; we just need to be able to be flexible because we’re asking our community to be flexible, and we’re providing space for them for voluntary transfer,” she said. “There’s so many other pieces that could happen here that could change this. We have to keep being flexible and keep getting updates on what that’s going to look like.”