Several northeast Neb. school districts look at ways to fight de - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Several northeast Neb. school districts look at ways to fight declining enrollment

Five northeast Nebraska school district look at ways to stay competitive. Five northeast Nebraska school district look at ways to stay competitive.
With a threat of declining enrollment on the horizon, several Siouxland school districts are discussing ways to fight that trend.

Five northeast Nebraska rural school districts, faced with many different challenges, are discussing the various options they have to stay educationally competitive into the future.

Initial conversations began between the Plainview and Creighton school districts several months ago with the two discussing sharing extra circular activities.

"Those kind of fell through, but we started having some committee meetings with the boards and through those meetings there seemed to be an interest to look at things such as sharing activities or possibly teachers or classes of different types," said Richard Alt, Plainview Superintendent.

After months of discussion, school leaders from Creighton and Plainview believed it was in the best interest of the districts to get an outsider's perceptive before making any decisions about the future.

"We felt it was important in July that we go ahead and offer a feasibility study and bring the outside person in to really look at our districts. At that time we could kind of tell where that trend was going and maybe it needed to be more than just two school districts," said Jeff Jensen, Creighton Superintendent.

Jensen said invitations were extended to the districts of Bloomfield, Wausa, and Osmond for what would be a five school feasibility study, conducted by Gerald Ehlers of Key Concepts.

Ehlers outlined his findings at the end of January which included things such as enrollment trends, school facilities, educational programs, financing, and more.  School officials said the study also included a number of different options for the districts to consider.

"As a matter of fact there are 10 different proposals with 61 different alternatives and the study has been in board members' hands for a very short period of time. There have been no formal discussions amongst any of the boards," Dave Hamm, Osmond Superintendent.

School leaders say at the end of the day they want to provide the most opportunities for their students as possible.

"Here at Creighton we are offering kids a lot of electives more so than most school districts across the state especially our size. But what it has come down to is that in those elective classes you have one or two kids sitting in those classes with a teacher. That's not an ideal situation for that teacher or those students," said Jensen.

The five districts that are part of the study will begin discussions behind closed doors Wednesday night in Wausa to see what the next step will be going forward.

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