Laurel-Concord, Coleridge school boards to forego elections beca - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Laurel-Concord, Coleridge school boards to forego elections because of merger

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LAUREL, Neb. (KTIV) -

A big change is on the way for Laurel-Concord and Coleridge school districts. The districts are merging, but in the process they're avoiding an school board election.

The two districts have been partners in education for the better part of the last decade. They made a unique move four years ago, deciding to have each district's kindergarten through 4th graders, and high schoolers, go to school in Laurel. Each district's middle schoolers would attend class in Coleridge.

With the two working so well together, the schools share superintendent posed the idea of the two consolidating. Randall Klooz, Superintendent of Laurel-Concord/Coleridge said, "If there was a chance to keep it, keep the structure the way it was but become one school district would they be interested in doing so. And all of them said yes. If we can keep the structure the way it is but become one district that's the route they would like to go."

After community meetings in both communities, it was decided the two would ask the State of Nebraska to merge into one district effective this August.

However with the consolidation taking place during an election year, it makes the process of selecting board members unique. "As for Coleridge, since they are dissolving into Laurel, their school district will no longer exist anymore," Klooz said. "There wouldn't be any elections for Coleridge one way or another if this goes through with the reorganization committee."

After discussions with Attorney John Recker of Lincoln, Klooz decided to have both schools appoint officials to a new nine member board, five from the Laurel-Concord district and four from the Coleridge District. With this being a rare occurrence, the county clerk went to the Secretary of State to make sure what the districts were doing was legal. Dave Dowling, Cedar County Clerk, said, "I talked to the Secretary of State's office and talked to Mr. Neil Erikson and he told me he had been in contact with that school district's attorney and that's what he understood at that time too. That they would not be having an election."

Dowling said it's the first time he has seen something like this in the 28 years serving in county government.

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