Hearing set on Catlin-Jamaica school consolidation

Hearing set on Catlin-Jamaica school consolidation

DANVILLE — A public hearing on the proposed consolidation of the Catlin and Jamaica school districts will be held on June 3 at Danville Area Community College's Bremer Theater.

Cheryl Reifsteck, regional superintendent of Vermilion County schools, said the 6 p.m. hearing would not be an informational forum but rather an opportunity for people to voice their opinions prior to her review of the consolidation petition.

School officials have said recently that consolidating the Catlin and the Jamaica school districts into a single district would result in reduced personnel expenses, reduced administrative expenses, better purchasing power and more academic and extracurricular offerings.

A petition to consider the merger has been approved by both school boards, and has been sent to Reifsteck for consideration.

Reifsteck's review is to ensure the petition is in the proper format and contains all the necessary elements.

After the hearing, she will determine whether she believes the consolidation is in the best interest of both districts, and will then forward the petition and her recommendation to the state superintendent.

If the state superintendent approves the plan, a question on the proposed consolidation can appear on the ballot for voters in the Catlin and Jamaica school districts to consider. That could happen as early as November.

If voters approve the merger in November, the new district would begin with the 2015-16 school year.

The November ballot could also contain the names of candidates wanting to serve on the seven-member school board that would oversee the merged school district.

Reifsteck said petitions for school board candidates are available now in her office at 200 South College Street, Danville, and must be returned between June 16-23.

"I hope that we have a good turnout at the public hearing," Reifsteck said. "I want to hear from those who oppose and those who support the consolidation plan."

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