School district surveys residents about improving aging facility

By Roz Weis,

Kristi Roffman, DCSD Administrative Assistant, shows a sample survey going out to 5,000 area households this week. The postcards encourage community members to complete a short survey regarding the proposed new facility. (Driftless Multimedia photo by Roz Weis)

The Decorah Community School District (DCSD) wants to hear from the public…and soon.

In their continuing strategic planning efforts regarding a new elementary school, board members said the purpose of a survey, which is being mailed to area residents this week, is collecting information regarding the replacement of the 60-year-old John Cline Elementary School and West Side Early Childhood Center.

DCSD Superintendent Tim Cronin informed school board members Monday night that the survey postcards will arrive in 5,000 community mailboxes this week. Surveys will help architects and administrators as plans for the new school move forward prior to a proposed November bond issue.

Board members agreed that it is important for the entire community to engage in conversations about the future of District schools and the students served at those schools.

“This is why the Decorah Community School District Board of Education wants to hear from you as it explores constructing a new elementary school,” board members noted in the survey cards.

The postcards feature a QR code and a website with directions to complete the survey  online. The website is A paper copy of the survey also can be picked up at the District Administration Office at 1732 Old Stage Road. Questions can be directed to the office at 563-382-4208.

DCSD board members and administrators have explored potential improvement options for John Cline Elementary School and West Side Early Childhood Center for the past 16 years.

Information detailed on the survey website explains much of the history of the proposal. The renovation of John Cline School was estimated at approximately $9 million but would not meet the needs of the district. New construction is estimated at approximately $13 million. 

According to the information included in the public survey, “This extensive evaluation has included discussions and visioning through board meetings, facility assessments by architects and engineers, consultation with teachers and staff, and communication with community partners. After consideration of renovation and new construction options, constructing a new elementary building and tennis courts in the Heivly Island location (where John Cline Elementary is located) was identified as best for our kids and best for our community, considering city streets and infrastructure. Land was purchased in fall 2023 from the City of Decorah for $1.97 million, and a facility committee was formed earlier this year.

During Monday night’s monthly board meeting, members stressed the importance of the public completing the survey upon receipt.

The survey instructions state, “We now look to gather your feedback and input through a survey to help guide decision making about the proposed construction of a new elementary school. You are encouraged to take the survey, which is anonymous and requires about 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey (found online at will be available April 9-23.”

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