Mt. Vernon Register-News

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January 25, 2014

Dodds meeting draws crowd

MT. VERNON — When the Dodds Grade School Board of Education meets Tuesday, there is about a 50-50 chance it will approve dissolving the district and annexing into Ina Grade School District 8.

About 80 community members from the Dodds Grade School District attended a public informational meeting Friday night in the school gym — first hearing a presentation on the benefits of joining the Ina district, and then asking questions to Superintendent Craig Clark.

If there was a theme to be garnered from the meeting it is Dodds community members welcome thoughts from the Ina Board of Education on what their future plans are for the proposed annexed district.

It appears the Dodds board is not likely to rush into any decision at its meeting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“It was our intent (to make a decision),” said Board President Rodney Martin. “We don’t want to hurry into anything, although I don’t think there will be any opposition to it. All we’ve done is cut. Our philosophy has been what can we do to survive. I want to do better than that. I don’t care if its underachievers, overachievers … we need the money to teach every child.”

“We are in a perfect storm,” Clark said. “We have declining enrollment and Springfield cut 11 percent of our state aid funding, plus we have an aging faculty.”

If the Dodds Board decides to dissolve and annex into the Ina district, a petition would be presented to the Regional Board of Trustees — under the

administrative arm of the Regional Superintendent of Schools — and that board has between 50 to 70 days to conduct a public hearing. Following the public hearing, the Board has 10 days to render a decision on the petition. If 50 percent or more of the registered voters in the Dodds district oppose the petition, the annexation would not move forward, Clark said, adding the entire process will take about 90 days.

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