MT. VERNON — Annexation of the Dodds Grade School district into the Ina district is the most likely option school officials will seek after a failed referendum prevented consolidation of several Jefferson County districts.
Rodney Martin, president of the Dodds Grade School district, insists that school officials will do what’s best for the children.
“We will give our kids a better, quality education with more opportunities, regardless of the outcome,” Martin said Thursday. “We are still considering all of our options, but the option at the top of the list is to annex into the Ina district. We would still be able to take advantage of all the state incentives and we would still be acting upon the voters’ wishes as both districts voted to consolidate.”
Martin said the districts would be given approximately $1.4 million over a four-year period from the state if the annexation takes place.
The referendum in April would’ve consolidated the Opdyke-Belle Rive, Ina and Dodds district, however, it failed in the OBR area. It needed to pass in all three districts. Since that time, officials in the OBR district have taken action to send pupils from Belle Rive to Opdyke next school year, making it a pre-K through eighth grade attendance center.
“I want to emphasize Dodds Grade School will be open next school year,” Martin said, noting rumors have been circulating to the contrary.
“I think it’s been a little exaggerated as to the extent of what problems we have,” said Superintendent Craig Clark. “I’m not going to lie; we have some financial hurdles to get over but the Board has worked hard over the last 6 to 8 months to implement some cuts. We’re also sharing some things with Ina from all of our sports next year, and pending contract negotiations with our teachers, we’ll be ready to go on Aug. 14 when school starts.” The two districts have had a cooperative agreement for girls’ sports in the past, but starting next year, the boys’ will also have joint teams.