Bement, Cerro Gordo boards discuss collaboration

Bement, Cerro Gordo boards discuss collaboration

CERRO GORDO — The Cerro Gordo school board held a joint meeting with Bement's board of education to review the status of the two districts' current partnership along with discussing new ideas for further collaboration.

"The No. 1 goal is to provide more opportunities to students from both districts," Bement Superintendent Dan Brue said. The two schools have created a partnership over the last year, teaming up not only through cooperative sports but also academics.

In the 2012-2013 school year, both districts increased course offerings to high school students by sharing teachers, providing Bement students with an agricultural science class and Cerro Gordo students the opportunity to take industrial technology. Additionally, Bement offers unused pre-kindergarten program openings to Cerro Gordo students.

"At a time when we are getting less and less revenue, we are looking for ways to maintain our current offerings and possibly increase opportunities for students," Cerro Gordo Superintendent Brett Robinson said. The two superintendents presented several ideas for further collaboration including teacher sharing, co-oping volleyball, more sharing of transportation services, and the possibility of district reorganization.

Michelle Heninger of the Illinois State Board of Education gave a presentation outlining the different types of school district reorganization emphasizing "all of these are voluntary options."

Heninger said that while dissolution/annexation would involve the termination of one district with its students being absorbed by the annexing district, deactivation would allow a district to remain intact by closing a facility and sending students to a different district on a tuition basis. Consolidation, on the other hand, would dissolve both of the participating district's identities, with an entirely new district being formed.

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