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Corsica, Stickney consolidation plan moves to state level

CORSICA -- Corsica and Stickney school boards have approved a plan to consolidate their schools.

Now the plan is moving ahead for state approval.

Stickney approved the proposal June 3, while Corsica's approval was finalized Monday during a regular school board meeting.

Corsica School District Business Manager Merna Bye said Tuesday the application has been sent to Pierre, where the state Department of Education will consider the consolidation plan. If the plan meets state approval, the residents of the Corsica and Stickney school districts would vote on the matter in August or September. The election must be held within 90 days of the plan being approved by the state.

The district is targeting an Aug. 26 election for the consolidation vote, but that remains subject to change. Both districts need a majority of voters to support the plan to take effect. If either community votes against consolidation, the effort would be defeated.

A new school board would be elected in November and take over in January, if the proposal passes. The new Corsica-Stickney district would begin operation in July 2015.

Dropping enrollment and large financial savings are two of the primary reasons for the consolidation plan. School officials expect to spend about $9,000 per student in the first year of the district, which is expected to have 226 students in grades K-12. On their own, both Corsica and Stickney are expected to spend more than $11,000 on each student next year.

The districts have seen enrollment decrease each year since 2010-11, when a total of 293 students attended Corsica and Stickney. That's down to 247 students in 2013-14.

The consolidation plan calls for K-6 students to attend school in Stickney, while grades 7-12 would have classes in Corsica. The two communities are separated by 12 miles.