EHK-Exira Boards receive update on Whole Grade Sharing & reorganization


August 28th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Elk Horn-Kimballton and Exira Boards of Education held a joint meeting Monday evening, in Elk Horn. Superintendent Dean Schnoes told KJAN News the schools are on the right path towards consolidation, a path that began last year, when the districts entered into a Whole Grade Sharing agreement, and is becoming more likely, because the incentives for having such an agreement are running dry. He said that path includes bringing in consultants from the AEA, community update meetings. Schnoes says the timeline for consolidation or reorganization are being affected by the fact funding districts receive for Whole Grade Sharing will be gone by June 30th, 2014. Schnoes said the next incentive affecting patrons of both districts is tax reductions.

He says reorganization would reduce the tax burden from $5.40 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation to $4.40 per thousand. The rate would gradually increase over the next three-years following consolidation back to $5.40. Schnoes said in addition to the removal a Whole Grade Sharing incentive, there are also no more incentives for districts to share a superintendent, business manager, and other administrative positions. He says both districts had held site visits, and the State has noticed both districts need each other. The unofficial report from the State Department of Education recommends both districts keep moving forward and look at consolidation, to take advantage of much of the incentives the State has to offer for districts considering the move.

In order to move forward, the districts need to stick to a timeline. He says they’d like to have things finalized by no later than June 30, 2014. Schnoes says after they hear from the AEA representatives during their next joint meeting on November 26th in Exira, they’ll hold community meetings, and hopefully have the petitions completed for reorganization, along with a vote to consolidate, sometime early next year. He says the mood seems favorable toward reorganization, but they won’t know for sure until the community meetings take place.