By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The school consolidation question for Opdyke-Belle Rive, Dodds and Ina Grade schools has been approved by State Superintendent of Schools Christopher Koch.
“The state superintendent approved putting the consolidation question on the April ballot,” said Ron Daniels, Regional Superintendent of Schools for Hamilton-Jefferson Counties. “I expect it will be filed (with County Clerk Connie Simmons) by Jan. 4.”
The last day to file for a public question to appear on the April 9 ballot is Jan. 7.
“We received notice on Wednesday from Chris Koch that he mailed the approval on Dec. 20,” Daniels explained. “With the holidays, we received it on Wednesday.”
Daniels said in order for consolidation of the three districts to move forward, a majority vote must be attained in each of the districts on April 9.
“If any of the districts vote no, consolidation stops, it does not go forward,” Daniels said. “If the question is approved in each district, the new school district would not form until July 1, 2014.”
Daniels said the election of board members for the new district — If approved — would take place in 2014.
“Sometimes districts who want to consolidate put the consolidation question and the potential school board on the ballot at the same time, but that’s confusing to voters,” Daniels said. “They chose to start with the consolidation question and if it passes, board candidates will go on the next ballot. Since there is no fall election in 2013, the next election would be the next spring. ... I would call for the election of board members in March 2014.”
Daniels said at this point, it is up to each of the three school districts to begin educating the public about the consolidation issue.
“I know they are already planning several public meetings between now and the election,” Daniels said.