To the Editor:
It has recently been brought to our attention that there is a petition circulating through the communities of Bessemer and Wakefield recommending putting the consolidation of Bessemer and Wakefield-Marenisco school districts onto the ballot for a May 2014 election. While any citizen may circulate a petition on any topic, no one has the right to claim support for the petition’s intent when that support has not been given.
The person attempting to collect signatures to put consolidation onto the May ballot has indicated the Wakefield-Marenisco Board of Education is in full support of consolidation That statement is not correct.
At this point in time, the W-M Board of Education has taken one simple step: It has requested input from the members of the Wakefield and Marenisco communities regarding their opinions on consolidation. The results of that survey, while incomplete, indicate a willingness to consider consolidation of the two districts at some point in time. That is as far as board action has gone.
To date, the W-M Board of Education has not discussed consolidation, has not taken a vote on pursuing or not pursuing consolidation and has certainly not made any statement in support of or against the consolidation of the W-M and Bessemer school districts. For someone to claim that the board is in full support of consolidation, the petition or putting the topic on the ballot is simply incorrect.
It is important for all community members to understand that consolidation is an important and permanent step, and is not to be entered into lightly. The Wakefield-Marenisco Board of Education will continue to survey and investigate, and at some point will consider a recommendation to the communities it serves.
In the meantime, residents are welcome to sign or not sign any petition being presented. We hope that those petitions will be presented honestly.
Catherine R. Shamion
Superintendent, Wakefield-Marenisco School District