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Consultants pitching plans for consolidation study

ISBE grant could cover around half the cost

The Morris Community Shared Services Committee is seeking a consultant to perform the districts’ feasibility of consolidation of schools study.

Morris Elementary School District Superintendent Teri Shaw is currently in discussion with two possible consultants and is waiting to hear back from a third. So far, one consultant has provided her with a sample study and the other gave her an outline of a study.

“We’re going to get proposals from those consultants,” Shaw said.

Once all the documents have been received, superintendents from each of the participating schools will select a consultant and make a recommendation to the Shared Services Committee. Shaw expects that recommendation to take place at the Nov. 7 meeting.

As expected, the price tag on the study will be between $10,000 and $15,000. One consultant quoted the committee between $10,000 and $13,000. The other estimated between $12,000 and $15,000.

“We may be able to get up to $7,000 from (the Illinois State Board of Education) to fund the study,” Shaw said.

ISBE offers an allotment to schools pursuing this type of study based on the number of districts participating in the study and the combined enrollment of the districts.

Since three Morris school districts — Morris Elementary School District 54, Saratoga Elementary School District 60C and Morris Community High School District 101 — will be participating in the study, pending funding information, and their combined enrollment is greater than 1,000 students, ISBE may grant them up to $7,000, according to the state board’s website.

The remaining cost, between $5,000 and $8,000, will need to be funded elsewhere.

“That still needs to be a conversation,” Shaw said.

The three districts each approved participation in the study pending funding details. Shaw said she does not know what each district will decide once an allotment is granted through ISBE.

The committee is still searching for another party to fund the remaining amount.

A couple possible funding avenues not yet confirmed are the Community Foundation of Grundy County and the city of Morris.

Shaw said she and the committee are hoping to have results of a study by April or May 2013.

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