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G-R dissolution plan presented to public

Students’ future, assets and joint agreements discussed August 4, 2016

August 14, 2016
ADAM SODDERS , Reinbeck Courier

REINBECK - The air was hot and stagnant in the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Junior/Senior High School auditorium this week as about 90 people gathered for a meeting of the G-R Dissolution Commission.

The seven commission members sat on stage, facing the auditorium. They had three goals for the night: Review background on the possible dissolution of G-R district, present a draft of the dissolution proposal they had developed and answer questions about the proposition and possible dissolution.

The commission worked with the Iowa Department of Education on the proposal.

Article Photos

The possible dissolution of Gladbrook-Reinbeck school district was discussed earlier this week in the G-R Junior/Senior High School auditorium. The meeting, attended by about 90 people, was held by the school board’s Dissolution Commission, and the group’s proposed map showing the division of the G-R district to five surrounding districts was put forward to the public. The commission fielded questions concerning employment, assets and liabilities, and the process of developing the proposal.
Photo by Adam Sodders

"Our intent is to submit this proposal to the school board," said Anne Boyer, commission chairwoman and G-R board member. "We ended up meeting with six of the surrounding school districts."

She said all seven surrounding districts were sent letters regarding the possibility of G-R dissolving and all but Beaman-Conrad-Liscomb-Union-Whitten (BCLUW) responded.

The districts of Dike-New Hartford (D-NH), Hudson, Grundy Center, North Tama and Green-Mountain Garwin (GMG) are currently planned to divide up the G-R district in the event of dissolution.

Because Gladbrook would fall into GMG and Reinbeck into D-NH, those districts would receive athletic facilities, school buildings and other assets currently on those campuses, as well as students from those towns.

Doug Rowe, commission secretary, said the other three districts would not get a section containing a G-R district campus. Those areas would receive land and students.

"The G-R school (district) has no assets in those areas on the map," he said of North Tama, Grundy Center and Hudson.

Joint agreements between government entities allowed under Chapter 28E of the Iowa Code were also brought up at the meeting.

Examples of buildings and facilities under 28E agreements with the G-R district include a baseball field, fitness and wellness center, two daycare facilities, a pool, a football locker room and a park.

"There is no guarantee that there would be 28E agreements with the other districts," Rowe said, adding that if G-R dissolves, so would the currently held agreements.

One audience member asked about the fate of teaching staff currently at G-R.

"The (Iowa) Code reads that ... if the districts taking on students would need to hire staff, the staff from this school would get preferential treatment," Boyer said. "Other than that there would be no position for them."

Rowe added that all current G-R employees, not just teachers, would lose their jobs if the district dissolves.

Another woman asked the commission how many employees would lose their jobs after the dissolution.

"I don't really have an exact number," Rowe said. "If I were to guess, it would be close to 100 people."

Commission members also fielded a question about road names in the proposal, many of which change as they run across county lines. Members said a more exact, absolute description of the map would be put together.

"We will be modifying these descriptions," Boyer said. "The (respective) county will actually write the legal description (of the legal territory) out."

Audience members, including G-R and North Tama Superintendent David Hill, said the meeting offered no surprises.

"I think it went as expected," he said. "Nothing shocking."

Jennifer Wrage, G-R sixth grade teacher and Gladbrook resident, complimented the commission.

"I think the commission has done a good job fulfilling their duty," she said.

After taking public comments into consideration and presenting the proposal to the other districts, the commission plans to take their proposal to the school board on Aug. 23.

"Once we submit (the proposal) to the school board, the commission then ceases to exist," Boyer said, adding a special election as early as December is a possibility.

After the proposal is submitted, the G-R school board will be able to make changes as they see fit. The Tuesday, Aug. 23 G-R board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of G-R Elementary School at 300 Cedar St. in Reinbeck.



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