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Committee opts against study for consolidation

Saratoga drops out, making $15,000 cost out of reach

The Shared Services Committee decided Wednesday they will not proceed with a study they said could help the districts save money because it would cost too much to commission.

The Feasability of Consolidation Study, done by an independent body, would have cost $15,000. If all Morris school districts participated, the Illinois State Board of Education would have posted a $7,500 incentive to defray half the cost.

According to Morris Elementary Dist. 54 Superintendent Teri Shaw, the purpose of the study was to gather information and not to move toward consolidating the districts.

But an article in the Morris Daily Herald that she said mischaracterized the committee’s intentions led Saratoga Dist. 60C to drop out, which in turn took ISBE’s contribution off the table.

A clarification to the mistake was run in the following edition of the Morris Daily Herald.

On Wednesday night, the Shared Services Committee decided $15,000 was too much to divide between two schools.

“It was never about consolidation,” Shaw said. “It was about gathering data that could have led to ideas we hadn’t considered before.”

Shaw said the study would have showed the committee ways the districts could have pooled resources to save money.

“How it was portrayed in the newspaper killed the idea,” Saratoga Superintendent Kathy Perry said at the meeting.

Added Shaw: “That we couldn’t just get the information is a bit disheartening.”

Other attempts at commissioning a consolidation study have failed in 2005 and 2006.

According to Shaw, this year was the closest they had come to going forward with the consolidation study.

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