Mini Editorial

Monday, April 2, 2007

Huge decisions on a regional high school

It is going to be hard to pull the trigger on the proposed regional high school - especially for the three area school districts who would have to swallow their high school moving to rural Pocahontas.

To their credit, the school boards have grasped that they owe it to their communities to consider such an option.

They also know that this is treating the symptom, not the disease. If the population shift to urban areas continues, and small town Iowa continues to age, a new regional school is likely to dwindle in size over time, just as the individual districts are today.

Still, there comes a point when a small district can't afford all the things their students deserve. We have not reached that point for the Newell-Fondas and the AC-Ts of the region, but we can see it from here.

Some form of consolidation is going to be needed for several of the small districts in or partially within BV County. Do they fit with Pocahontas - in effect taking two high schools out of this county? We're not so sure.

AC-T already has a partner for now in Sioux Central, with modern facilities. N-F and Laurens-Marathon aren't the only ones looking ahead. If Alta and Aurelia don't get sharing off the ground, they will need to consider options. Schaller-Crestland, too. It is conceivable someday that the immediate area could have only two districts - Storm Lake and a major consolidated district to rival it in size.

Whatever the eventual decisions, the communities must be on board. If not, students are going to open enroll to the stability of Storm Lake, Spencer, Cherokee, and Sac, and the small districts won't have enough left to effectively consolidate with.