School consolidation vote on hold

Residents of the Brownstown and St. Elmo school districts may be voting on a consolidation of the two districts, but it won’t be next spring.
In a joint release, officials from the two school districts announced on Monday that they had not filed petitions that would place a consolidation issue on the ballot in the March 2016 general primary election.
St. Elmo Superintendent Deb Philpot and Brownstown Superintendent Adam Bussard said that since the timeline for the March primary has passed, “the Committee of 10 is still moving forward in an effort to meet the requirements of filing a petition for an upcoming election.”
Toward that goal, the Committee of 10 is continuing to meet, with its next meeting set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Brownstown School District office.
On that committee, Brownstown is represented by school board President Randy Mason and Vice President Kent Kistler, teacher Michelle Seabaugh, support staff representative Ashley Towler and community representative Clay Chandler.
St. Elmo members of the committee include school board members Shannon Moss and Mindy Healy, teacher Michelle Schaal, support staff representative Mandy Miller and community representative Jake McWhorter.
Officials in the two school districts began discussing another consolidation vote at the end of the last year school, and held informal meetings on the issue in each community.
Issues that are causing officials from the two districts to consider another consolidation vote include decreases in both state funding and enrollments.
Residents of the two districts voted on consolidating the two districts in the spring of 2009. At that election, St. Elmo residents overwhelmingly supported consolidation, 622-370, but the measure failed in Brownstown, 373-339.
In recent years, the two districts have joined together for cooperative sports teams, with Brownstown hosting some teams and St. Elmo hosting others.
There is also a cooperative effort for some classes. Brownstown has been sending students to St. Elmo for ag classes in recent years and is now sending some students to St. Elmo for music.
Some St. Elmo students have gone to Brownstown for art classes, and the two districts have jointly offered family consumer and science classes.

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