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Leland School District 1 will weigh consolidation options

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 12:16 p.m. CDT

LELAND – In effort to offer students more opportunities both in and out of the classroom, school officials at Leland School District 1 are looking into options for consolidation with neighboring districts.

Leland Superintendent Jodi Moore said officials have reached out to bordering districts including Indian Creek School District 425, Earlville School District 9, Somonauk School District 432 and Serena School District 2.

Leland School District 1 includes Leland High School and Leland Elementary School and had a total enrollment of 267 students for the 2015-16 school year, according to IllinoisReportCard.com

Moore said the idea for consolidation came from a feasibility study last spring.

“At first the board was hesitant,” she said. “They thought we’d be giving up being part of a small school.”

Moore said board members have stayed open-minded to the potential benefits of consolidation, such as sharing services, course offerings and sports.

“The board is being realistic and looking for options to give the best education with the tax dollars from the community,” she said.

Moore said the process has opened up valuable dialogue with other districts about things like state funding and their vision for their schools in the next 10 years.

“The only reason [board members] are looking to the feasibility study is because they want to know we’re offering the best to students in Leland,” she said. “Some consolidations are done to save money, but we know that doesn’t always happen.”

Indian Creek Superintendent Chad Willis said his district would establish a committee to meet with Leland school officials to discuss what a consolidation might look like.

The committee was scheduled to discuss feasibility options at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at Indian Creek High School Library.

“We will meet with Leland to encourage communication and see if it is in our mutual interests,” Willis said. “We’re exploring options at this point and trying to learn more information.”

He said they would talk about the visions of both districts to determine if their educational and long-term goals align.

Indian Creek School District had a 2015-16 enrollment of 723 students, while Earlville School District had 442; Somonauk School District had 808, and Serena School District had 666, according to IllinoisReportCard.com.

Moore said the districts are in the process of communicating ideas to figure out which consolidation options would most benefit students, and no decision has been made yet.