Mt. Vernon Register-News


June 17, 2014

Woodlawn school petition heard

WOODLAWN — A public hearing to consolidate the Woodlawn grade and high schools into an optional unit district met no opposition Monday.

The public hearing was conducted by Regional Superintendent of Schools for Jefferson/Hamilton counties Ron Daniels.

Daniels said the petition to consolidate the Woodlawn districts was received by his office on May 23. Daniels also said he would be making a decision on the issue by a self-imposed June 30 deadline.

If approved by Daniels and State Education Superintendent Christopher Koch, a referendum will be placed on the Nov. 4 general election ballot, asking voters in the districts to approve the consolidation. It has to pass by a simple majority in both districts in order for a new district to be organized.

Thomas Mars, chairman of the Committee of Ten and president of Woodlawn High School District 205, was the only person who presented testimony at the hearing.

Mars said the current petition does not seek to change current boundaries, meaning neighboring school districts, including Mt. Vernon Township High School and Nashville High School and Rome, Ashley and Grand Prairie grade schools student population and taxable land area will not be affected by the reorganization.

Mars listed seven reasons why the Committee of Ten is in favor of the petition. They include:

n State financing has declined over the last several years, creating financial challenges for the districts;

n The districts have reduced their staffs or are considering reducing their staffs and programs due to financial shortcomings;

n The school districts are facing static or declining enrollments;

n Consolidation would allow the districts to be more united in their mission for children and offerings for students;

n Consolidation would help eliminate duplication of services;

n Consolidation will allow for the combining of resources, staff and materials;

n And, the curriculum may be enhanced if the districts share resources.

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