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St. Elmo, Brownstown residents urged to be informed about consolidation

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

For a little more than two years, a dozen residents of the Brownstown and St. Elmo school districts have studied how a consolidation of the two districts would improve the educational offerings for their children. Now, they are anxious to share their findings with their fellow residents.

At a meeting on Tuesday night, the consolidation Committee of 10 hashed out at length just how they can best relay their findings to residents of the two districts.

During that discussion, members of the committee – along with Brownstown Superintendent Doug Slover and St. Elmo Superintendent Deb Philpot – kicked around various methods of informing residents about the consolidation issue.

And as they did so, the committee members emphasized that their top priority is educating the public about the benefits of consolidation, not telling residents point blank that they should vote for joining the two districts. The research gathered over the past two years, they believe, speaks for itself – the education offered to children in the two districts will be enhanced by joining them into a single district.

Members of the committee committed themselves on Tuesday to spreading the consolidation research in numerous ways in an attempt to reach every possible voter.

They decided to hold two public hearings and conduct a mass mailing throughout the two districts.

The 12 individuals who have worked on the issue since the fall of 2006 will present the consolidation data – and answer questions – at a 6 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Brownstown cafeteria and at a 7 p.m. meeting on Thursday, Jan. 29, in the cafeteria at St. Elmo High School.

The effort to gather all of the necessary information about the consolidation is essentially complete – the only work left for the Committee of 10 and the two superintendents is presenting that information to the residents of Brownstown and St. Elmo, and explaining how they and their children would benefit from the reorganization.

The 12 people who have studied the issue have dedicated countless hours on this project. Now it’s up to the residents of the two districts to do their part.

We encourage residents of the two districts to read through the informational brochure they will be receiving in the mail in a couple of weeks, and to attend at least one of the public hearings scheduled for the end of this month.

We’ve always said that the best voter is an educated voter. And, indeed, the referendum on the April 7 ballot is about education.

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