The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Time for voters to decide consolidation issue


To the Editor:

The article “School boards look to delay consolidation vote” in the June 4 Daily Globe has me wondering when (or if) the school boards of the Bessemer Area School District and Wakefield-Marenisco School District are going to allow their respective voters to vote on the consolidation issue.

Sure, there may be legal problems with how signatures were obtained to create a vote on Aug. 5. That will be determined by our courts. But the fact remains that there are many eligible voters in both districts who signed the petitions to put consolidation on the ballot.

Still, the two school boards did not consider putting the issue to the voters. Instead, they authorized their lawyer to take legal action relating to the petition signatures and thus delay a vote on the issue. Until when? Another stall, but one not planned in advance by the two boards?

Regardless of the outcome of the charges to Bill McDonald, the issue still remains, and has been around for quite some time, to put the question of consolidation to the voters of both districts. The voters of the Bessemer Area School District have already turned down two bond proposals put forth by the board, and rumor has it that another might be on its way.

Why do school officials of both districts continue to talk about meetings to plan for consolidation when they all know and now many of us voters know that whatever plan is agreed to is non-binding on the new school board that would be formed should a vote on the issue pass in both districts. Another stall?

Is each board looking for issues to use to prevent a consolidation vote? Using different reasons to delay a vote only keeps the issue before the communities and continues to divide the citizens into different camps that could ultimately negatively affect other community issues.

It is time that the issue of consolidation of the Bessemer Area School District and the Wakefield-Marenisco School District is voted on by the voters of each district. Whatever the decision of the voters is, the issue would then be put to rest. Then, and only then, can the future of the education of our students move forward.

Douglas Olsen



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