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Graettinger, Terril School Districts File Petitions For Reorganization

By Staff | Aug 19, 2008

After participating in a whole-grade sharing agreement with the Terril Community School District for the past several years, patrons of the Graettinger Community School District will vote on a possible reorganization of the two districts into a consolidated district. Petitions for reorganization were filed in July by both districts with the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in order to bring the question to a vote of district patrons later this year.

For the two districts, the proposal to reorganize, or consolidate, is the final step to officially combine the two districts into the Graettinger/Terril Community School. Whole grade sharing was initiated in 2004 between the two districts facing declining student enrollments. Due to the proximity of the two districts, the sharing program allowed for both communities to keep school buildings open, providing quality education for children living in the districts.

Since the start of the sharing agreement, committees in both school districts were formed to examine the pros and cons of a consolidation of the two districts. After many months of study and discussions, both committees recommended to their respective school boards that the districts proceed with reorganization.

In order to begin the formal reorganization process, signatures had to be obtained from a percentage of registered voters in each district on petitions for reorganization. Once the petitions were completed, both were submitted to the administrator of the Prairie Lakes Area Education Association, Dr. Kay Forsythe.

The petition calls for an initial appointed school board of seven members in the reorganization, with four directors being appointed from the Graettinger district and three directors being appointed from the Terril district. The board would then become a five-member board through election following the reorganization.

Under the Code of Iowa, written objections to the proposed reorganization petitions must be filed no later than 12 noon on Monday, Sept. 22, 2008, in the office of Dr. Kay Forsythe, Administrator, Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, 500 NE 6 Street in Pocahontas, IA, 50574. A prescribed objection form is available from the AEA offices, as well as the Superintendent’s offices of the Graettinger and Terril Community School Districts.

In addition, objection forms are available for patrons requesting dismissal of the filed petitions, and/or requesting property to be set out of the proposed reorganized district. Objections requesting the removal of property from the proposed district must include a correct, legal description of the property being requested for removal.

As part of the reorganization process, a pair of community informational meetings have been scheduled in both Graettinger and Terril to explain the process to district patrons. The public meeting in Graettinger has been set for Monday, Sept. 15, 2008, at 7 p.m in the Graettinger school lunchroom, while a public meeting has been set for Tuesday, Sept. 16 in the Terril school lunchroom at 7 p.m.

A public hearing on the reorganization, conducted by Dr. Forsythe and the Prairie Lakes AEA staff will then be held on Friday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Terril school gymnasium.

The final step in the reorganization process will be elections in both districts, where voters will cast their votes either in support or in opposition to the plan. The public vote has been tentatively set for Tuesday, Dec. 2.