Corsica, Stickney eye consolidation
STICKNEY — Stickney and Corsica school administrators outlined their plan to combine the two school districts by the 2015-16 school year during a public meeting Tuesday night in Stickney.
“It’s just going to be a better situation for our kids,” said Stickney School Board President Lloyd Perrson.
About 100 people attended Tuesday night’s meeting on the plan to consolidate the two districts. A similar meeting was held Monday night in Corsica. The public meetings are the first formal steps in the consolidation process.
Enrollment has declined in both school districts in recent years and has led to talks of consolidation, Perrson said.
In Stickney, enrollment was 125 in 2009; 128 in 2010; 114 in 2011; and 116 in 2012. In Corsica, enrollment was 171 in 2009; 160 in 2010; 155 in 2011; and 144 in 2012.
State law requires most districts that fall under 100 students to submit plans to close or consolidate with another district. In Stickney, enrollment is expected to drop below 100 students next year, Perrson said.
“The numbers are there, telling us that we’re hitting Jaguars.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the joint committee presented a timeline regarding what will occur as the two districts continue to move toward consolidation.
As the committee finalizes its consolidation plan, additional public meetings will be held next spring, giving both districts time to fine tune the plan before submitting it for state approval in June.
According to a rough draft of the consolidation plan discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting, K-6 students would attend school in Stickney and 7-12 students would attend school in Corsica if the districts are combined.
If the consolidation plan is approved by the state, the decision to combine the districts would still have to be approved by a separate vote in both communities. If either community votes not to consolidate, the effort would be ended.
The public vote, which must occur within 90 days of the plan being approved by the state, will most likely occur in September, if all goes according to plan, Perrson said.
A consolidation would require a new school board, the dissolution of the two separate school boards, and would end with a single administration and superintendent.
If voters in both communities approve the consolidation, a new school board would be elected in November 2014, and sworn in after Jan. 1, 2015. At that point, all staff in both districts would be forced to reapply for positions within the district, as some positions will be eliminated in the consolidation.
“That’s going to be a tough decision for the new board,” Perrson said. “Some people will not be getting their jobs back.”
With shrinking enrollment at both schools, Perrson said a consolidated district will be best for all involved.
“It just matches up so well,” he said. “It will make a real nice school district.” that wall,” he said.
The two school boards have been working together on a plan to consolidate through a joint committee made up of administrators from both schools — two school board members from Stickney and three school board members from Corsica. It meets regularly after the meetings of each board to discuss shared items.
Corsica and Stickney, connected by U.S. Highway 281, are about 12 miles apart.
This school year, the two districts started sharing facilities, with grades 5 and 6 attending school in Stickney, and grades 7 and 8 attending school in Corsica.
“From all indications, it’s working out well,” Perrson said.
The schools began sharing athletics during the 2009-10 school year. The schools already have shared colors — cardinal red and black — and the same mascot, the