School Districts Discuss Co-Op High School - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

School Districts Discuss Co-Op High School

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School districts in Henry County, IL are in talks about possibly forming a co-op high school. School officials in Henry County say the co-op would allow local school boards to maintain control over their respective students unlike in consolidation.

This summer there were seven districts considering the idea. Now there are four -- Galva, Cambridge, Annawan and Alwood.

Galva's superintendent said the motivation behind the idea wasn't to cut costs --- but to give students more opportunities. Superintendents were inspired to start discussing the idea after talking to school leaders from Paris, IL who recently formed a co-op high school there, Galva Superintendent Doug O'Riley said.

O'Riley is spearheading the talks over the possible co-op. He said people in the community have told him they're excited about the idea.

"Our board is very progressive," he said. "We'd hope a larger high school would offer more opportunities to our students. For instance, we could have a science department instead of a single person trying to teach chemistry, physics and biology."

If the co-op were to become a reality, O'Riley said it could possibly be housed at Galva's current high school, although studies would have to be done to learn if the school would need additions or if building a new facility would be necessary.

The co-op could potentially triple the size of Galva's current student body of 175, O'Riley said. And he said that would triple the opportunities available to students.

But some parents in the community have expressed concerns. A handful of parents KWQC-TV6 talked to Monday said they fear losing the community's identity if the co-op were to become a reality. Some also expressed worry that their children could get less attention in school.

The concerns are similar to some heard in the Wethersfield school district. It announced earlier this month it is no longer considering the idea at this time, although it could be opening to consider ideas like it in the future.

But for the districts who are interested in the idea, Galva's superintendent said it could be another five years before they could make the co-op a reality.

But first, districts must commit to wanting to learn more information about the co-op. If that happens, O'Riley said studies about the effects of the co-op could start to be done this school year. Topics to be addressed in those studies range from transportation costs, to job loss or creation and overall cost cutting or saving.  

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