Jackson County Merger Vote Tuesday - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Jackson County Merger Vote Tuesday

Updated: Sep 11, 2012 04:55 AM CDT

Merging has been a problem many school districts have had to face in recent years. And now, low budgets and decreased student populations could mean consolidation for two districts in Jackson County, Iowa.

A special election Tuesday will be the deciding factor for whether the East Central District and the Preston School District reorganize and consolidate.

But the vote is causing controversy among residents in the community. Front lawns are littered with signs -- pitting neighbor against neighbor.

"People stealing signs out of the yard and won't speak to neighbors because they disagree," said Kathleen Costello of Miles. "I think it's kind of silly."

Right now, only preschool and elementary age students go to the East Central School District located in Miles. Grades 7 through 12 go to high school in the Northeast School District. Some people in Miles want to see that continue, some don't.

Similar to the district in Miles, student numbers in the Preston District have dwindled over the past few years. A merger may ensure more opportunities and more funding for students.

On the other hand, a merger may mean some teachers are let go. It's up to the voters to decide --

"I have a great grandson and granddaughter that actually would be going to Miles but prefer the Preston School District," said Costello.

"We've decided to vote no," said Miles resident Shirley Daniels. "We'd like to keep things going as they were last year and think it will work best for everyone."

The Jackson County Auditor says the office has already been busy. Roughly 550 absentee votes are already in. A simple majority in both districts is needed in order for the merger to be approved.

WHERE TO CAST YOUR VOTE: Voters in the Preston Community School District will cast their votes at the Community Hall.

Those in The East Central Community School district, Van Buren and Washington Townships, and residents in Miles and Deep Creek will vote at Miles City Hall.

Union Township, Sabula, and Elk River Township residents will vote at Sabula City Hall.

The polls are open from 7 AM to 8 PM Tuesday.

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