By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Blue Sky school board wants to hold an election on whether Blue Sky and the Kremlin-Gildford school districts should consolidate, if the KG district holds an election as well.
"The board here would like a vote, just to see what people want to do," board chair Lyle Petersen said at a board meeting Thursday night.
Petersen said the board will draft a resolution asking Blue Sky voters to approve consolidating the districts, with grades seven through 12 at Rudyard and kindergarten through sixth at Hingham.
The KG school board, a guest at the Blue Sky board meeting, said it will take the discussion back to its advisory board after Easter. The KG board could not vote Thursday night because it was meeting outside its district.
State law requires that voters in both districts must approve consolidation before it could occur. An election can be ordered by the board or by the county superintendent of schools if 20 percent of voters in the district sign a petition requesting the election.
Some members of the audience - a total of about 55 people from both districts - said they wanted faster action.
David Aageson told the boards he had hoped the meeting, which ran from about 8 to 9:30 p.m., would have lasted until 2 a.m. so questions could be answered and decisions made.
"I applaud the fact that the two groups are talking. That's an important first step. I had hoped there would be a greater sense of urgency," he said, adding he hopes that "the communities would roll up their sleeves and go to work and do what is right for these kids."
The two districts previously discussed consolidation. After a consultant presented its findings that the best configuration would place the upper grades in Rudyard and the lower grades in Hingham, the KG board voted to end the talks.
Many people attending the meeting said they support consolidation.
Blue Sky student Heather Haas said if the districts don't consolidate, they are likely to disappear and the only choices for school will be Havre or Chester.
She added that out-of-district students would probably continue to come to the consolidated district.
"If at one district we have something to offer, they would travel the extra 12 miles," Haas said.
Blue Sky student body President Roald Aageson said he is scheduling a meeting between the student councils of the two schools to discuss consolidation.
"In my mind there is no doubt consolidation is in he best interests of Blue Sky and KG students, in high school and in elementary," Aageson said. "I ask that the two communities act as one and do what is best for the students."
Some members of the audience said some questions need to be answered before they can fully support consolidation, such as how many teachers would be at the elementary school.
Lipp said the two boards cannot make those decisions. An interim board with members from both districts would be appointed by the county superintendent, and that board would have complete authority over the consolidated district, he said.
Mert Freyholtz of Gildford said surveys have shown that the voters in KG support consolidation, and were told last year it would be put to a vote.
"Why didn't we honor that?" he asked. "If you keep screwing around, some of the eastern kids will end up in Havre, and I don't want my grandson going to Havre. I still think it should be put to a vote of the people."