The boards could decide to move ahead without a referendum or the public could petition for a referendum to be held. If a referendum is passed or if none is held and the boards agree on consolidation it could take effect on July 1, 2018.
Last week the Richfield School Board met and agreed to continue on the path toward consolidation while many decisions still need to occur in the future.
-Long Term District Planning - Update on consolidation feasibility study.
Friess Lake Board members posed many thoughtful questions to each other about the process and how best to inform residents. While at the same time clearly indicating they support moving forward. They discussed how best to get the word out to residents. If at any time either board decides not to move forward the issue of consolidation ends. Part of Friess Lake Board discussions revolved around a survey. Do they chose to do a survey or not? If yes would the schools write the questions for residents? Do they hire a professional to write the questions. If no survey, what is the next step?
School board member Tony Kellicut stated, "He could support no survey". Another board member Ginny McGrath stated, "I received no negative responses from residents with whom I have spoken". Business Manager Denise Howe noted, "I have had parents call and ask about future taxes and what would happen regarding open enrollment for their child".
For some questions it is too early to have a complete answer.
As noted in an earlier post a joint meeting was held at Richfield Village Hall to discuss a financial report on consolidation. After that meeting, about 4 additional meetings were held in the AM, PM and the evening to hopefully have residents attend and learn about the potential merger. A disappointing number, only 9 attended all sessions.
Beginning March 2nd Round 2 of community meetings will occur and continue on March 6th, March 8th, and March 9th. Contact Friess Lake School or Richfield School for times and locations.
It is clear the school boards do not want to totally make this decision on their own even though that could happen. They truly want feedback from residents. So hopefully more will attend the Round 2 meetings. If you cannot attend at least call either of the schools and let them know your thoughts on this issue. They are eager to answer your questions.
For RT it is time to have all children living in these 2 districts attend the same school district. It would also enhance a sense of Richfield Community.