By Dennis Morgan
Regular business plus possible merger for EPS, Clearwater?
The District #18 Board of Education met Wednesday night for their regular meeting. Instructor Deb Beckman, along with two students, demonstrated to the board some of the iPad activities that accompany the new Wonder Reading Program and the IXL Program that reinforces language arts and math. No action items on the agenda.
Clearwater School District
However, perhaps the biggest development from the night actually occurred prior to the regular meeting. A District #18 school board subcommittee (Doug Jones, Steve Busteed, Stan Heithoff) met with representatives from the Clearwater School District to talk about possible consolidation which wouldn’t take place til the 2020-2021 school year at the earliest.
Clearwater is exploring opportunities with area schools before they decide on whether to continue with the Unified District (C-O-V).
Superintendent Dan Polk, who was not at the meeting but is familiar with the matter, said Monday night that Elgin has, in response to inquiries from Clearwater, offered some baselines of how a consolidated school district might look (each district keeping their elementary school, junior and senior high students at one location), but nothing of substance has yet to take shape.
In an email to staff Tuesday morning, Polk said “even if the hundreds of pieces happen to fall into place it wouldn’t be until 2020-2021 school year.”
He described it as a discussion of “fledgling ideas” and “what if’s” at this point in time. So far, he said, school administrators have met twice and there’s been one subcommittee meeting held.
Polk noted that Clearwater is looking at all their options.
In past months Clearwater has participated in meetings with other schools including Neligh-Oakdale. Polk said administrators from both schools were given the green light to discuss and explore what a consolidation of the two districts might look like.
Elgin, he said, would only be interested in something to help solidify student numbers and provide more opportunities to students. A new facility or raising the school levy substantially would not be of interest to Elgin, Polk added.
Earlier this month, Clearwater and Ewing school boards approved, on separate motions, a two-school feasibility study to be concluded by the end of November, with town hall meetings to follow in December and a possible vote to set the date for a special election early in 2019.