The board decided against a tentatively-scheduled meeting with members of the PORTA school board last week because the A-C school board isn’t ready to move forward with consolidation.
The two boards held a meeting in November to hear the results of a feasibility study, which recommended Chandlerville’s junior high building be closed, while all of PORTA’s three buildings stay open.
While PORTA’s superintendent says his school board unanimously supports a merger, A-C has maintained a much slower movement towards a deal. A-C superintendent Becky Canty insists they have that right.
“There are a couple of board members who have expressed their concern about a merger, ok, but not all feel that way. They’re fairly vocal with those kinds of things,” says Canty.
“But I think it really kind of boils down to [the fact that] we’re just two years out from a failed merger, and once that’s happened, you want to make sure that it’s going to succeed. If you’re going to go through the effort, if you’re going to go through all of the work that it takes to make those decisions. I just think they’re just taking it slowly,” she adds.
“When you’re looking at a merger, you can’t make plans. You can’t hire a superintendent.”
While some members of the board want this figured out before the springtime primaries, Canty says others want to see what the board looks like afterwards before moving forward.
“I have four seats that are open. I have seven people running. So, it could change dramatically,” she says.
The earliest a referendum could go on the ballot would be in March 2014. The boards of education would have to file paperwork by next September.
Canty, who’s retiring in June, says while the issue is a contentious one, it’s not being put on the back burner.
“They want me to have that conversation [about] consolidation on the agenda every month,” Canty says. “That’s something that is discussed virtually at every board meeting.”
Last November’s study suggests PORTA High School take in A-C’s high school students, while the current high school and elementary building in Ashland would move to serve pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.