Ames is home to Iowa State Universtiy, with a college of Education. The town has one of the highest percentages of doctorates per capita in the nation. One would think that the Ames School District would be on the cutting edge of education. With the exception of the high school, this is hardly the case.
What does the school district do in the last four years when faced with declining enrollment? Magnet schools, charter schools, brainstorm with the university and the community? NO! The best our school board and superintendent could come up with was to close three elementary schools. Four years ago there were eight elementary schools in Ames. Now there are five, with one targeted for closure next year.
Sounds pretty strange for a town that has GROWN in population in the last 10 years, but when one looks at the control that developers have in town, and the way residential construction is encouraged within the city limits of Ames, but outside the Ames School District boundries, it begins to make sense.
The local funding limits for all the schools in Iowa are set by the state legislature. This was done in an effort to level the playing field between big urban school districts and smaller rural districts. The net effect has been force districts with even minor enrollment declines to close schools, eleminate programs, and consolidate districts.
If you are moving to Iowa for the great school systems, please do your homework before you move.