Consolidation rejected: What's next?

Bushnell Prairie-City and Avon held school board meetings Wednesday night to discuss the future of their districts and to hear reactions to the consolidation vote.

"Very content and relieved for our community," John Slater, co-chair of the Just Vote No to Consolidation Committee said. "It's been a community issue from day one and our community responded with a landslide victory for our schools."

Slater is starting to collect Vote No to Consolidation signs that he and his committee put up. They're no longer needed after Tuesday's primary and it's clear he and his team did their job. Even though the consolidation didn't pass the the Committee of 10's research isn't at a loss.

"We will be talking about recommendations that we have for the future of the school district, these were recommendations from the Committee of 10," Shannon Price, secretary of the Just Vote No to Consolidation Committee said. "I thought their curriculum was excellent and I think we have the base for doing that here."

Four Just Vote No committee members will speak at the Bushnell-Prairie City School Board meeting on enhancing education and bus routes. But not every board meeting will be as enthusiastic.

"Yes, there is some disappointment that it didn't pass because I felt that our students were the ones ultimately affected," Dan Oakley, superintendent of Avon Schools said.

Avon was the school district that had the most to gain from the consolidation. Their enrollment is down and funds are dwindling.

Officials say a new plan needs to be put into action and it needs to happen fast.

"If we're going to try and get something on the November 2012 ballot, yes the petition would have to be due to the regional office of education which ever one is applicable by May 7th so we got somewhere between forty and fifty days," Oakley said.

"They could file again if they chose to do just a two way consolidation with either Abingdon or Bushnell or another surrounding school district," Hancock/McDonough Regional Superintendent of Schools, John Meixner said.

Either way, Avon officials say they need to forget about Tuesday's vote and look at their available options.

"I'm going to lay out the full slate in front of them and then we will talk about what's feasible, what's doable in the time frame we need to get it done in and move forward" Oakley said.