Southwest IA schools see some students enroll across border in Nebraska


August 18th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Wednesday was the first day of school for many students in western Iowa, while today marks the start of classes in AHST, Riverside and Shenandoah. Some districts in the southwest corner of the state are adjusting to changes in enrollment after local families were forced to relocate because of flooding. Jay Lutt is superintendent for the Farragut and Hamburg school districts. He says some parents who lived in Hamburg, but worked across the river in Nebraska City have relocated their families in Nebraska, at least temporarily.

“I know there’s some people that are trying to move back in,” he says. “The mandatory evacuation has been lifted and so we have families that are moving back (to southwest Iowa) and some that it’s still going to take a month or so to get moved back or into housing, so it is very fluctuating.”

Officials are still gathering data, but the superintendent estimates about 15 students have been lost to flood-related moves. Mike Eldridge is the junior-senior high school principal for the Sidney Community Schools. Several families in the town of Percival, which is in the district, were forced to relocate. Eldridge says some moved to another town within the district, but others have gone across the river to Nebraska. Eldridge estimates five or 10 students have left, but he says those numbers aren’t having major impact for now.

“We’ve had a lot of new students move into the district, not necessarily because of the flooding,” Eldridge says. “But we look like we may kind of stay level in regards to enrollment where we’re not going to show a huge decrease and we’re not going to show a big increase.”

School also started Wednesday in Council Bluffs. A spokeswoman for the district says she wasn’t not aware of any families leaving the district because of the floods, but at least 35 students have reported a different home address because of flood-related moves. The district is helping to transport 13 of those students to school in Council Bluffs from their temporary housing locations.

(Radio Iowa)