Several Rock Island School Districts Explore Consolidation - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Several Rock Island School Districts Study Consolidation

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Several districts in northern Rock Island County are looking into consolidating. They've started a feasibility study to see if it's possible to combine the districts.

Colona, Carbon Cliff, Silvis and East Moline all have elementary school districts. They offer pre-school through 8th grade and all their students go to United Township High School. The study is being done to see if Colona, Carbon Cliff, Silvis, East Moline and United Township High School can consolidate in some form.

"The big thing it comes down to is resources and being more efficient to manage staff," says Colona School District Superintendent Kyle Ganson, "We are looking at curriculum and the available resources we have to operate."

The districts have quite a few questions about consolidation and that's why they are doing the feasibility study. One of the things the districts are trying to find out is the best way to consolidate. Since Colona, Carbon Cliff, Silvis, and East Moline are pre-school through 8th grade districts, there are different consolidation options.

"One of the emphasis in this study is to look at is it is feasible for our students, for this district and United Township to become a unit district," adds Ganson.

The other option is combining all the elementary districts and keeping United Township High School a separate district.

"In some situations it may be better for you to remain in the configuration you're currently in," says Ganson, "It doesn't necessarily mean that bigger is better, that's not always the case."

The study will determine class size, transportation costs, and curriculum to help the districts make their decision. Tax rates for each district will also be looked at.

"Right now we all have different tax rates," says Ganson.

Financial issues are why this study is being done. Revenue from the state is decreasing as expenses increase.

"We don't have the ability to go out and increase our sales or increase our revenues, it's just very difficult to do that," adds Ganson.

Exploring consolidation is the very beginning of the process and the study will be back in May or June. A presentation will be given to each of the districts and each school board will have to decide if they want to proceed with consolidation. If they do, consolidation will be put on the ballot and voters will decide.

A grant from the state is paying for most of the study. The districts are paying around $1000 each to see if consolidation is possible.

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