Area Schools Hold Merger Talks
Declining enrollment and aging buildings that need repairs or replacement are two issues forcing some area school districts to make decisions about possible merger scenarios. School board representatives from five area school districts met Tuesday night in Greeley to discuss collaborations between the districts. The meeting included representatives from North Loup-Scotia, Ord, Greeley-Wolbach, Cedar Rapids and Spalding. Doctor Jerry Ehlers of Ainsworth was hired by the schools to come up with a report and presented his findings from research into the districts current and future projections. Doctor Ehlers report contained 34 different scenarios for the boards to ponder over time in their merger decisions. During his report presentation Doctor Ehlers made points concerning the economic situation and the fact that mergers do not change student enrollments. He discussed that many of the schools would not have room in most classrooms to accommodate extra students from mergers. This would mean new buildings would need to be added or major renovations made to make room for extra students and staff. Ehlers said State taxes for funding is also a factor for the school boards to consider in their future decisions. North Loup-Scotia's school board has already made the decision to consolidate but has not come to an agreement on whether they will consolidate with Ord or possibly Greeley-Wolbach. It was announced that a copy of the full feasibility report will be available by the end of the week on each of the schools' websites.