What's next for the new school district?

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Students in the newly consolidated school district, combining Aledo and Westmer schools will begin classes in the 2009-2010 school year.

While the newly elected school board members will not technically be taking over governing that district until the fiscal year begins July 1, 2009, that doesn't mean they won't begin meeting and making decisions, according to Alan Boucher, Aledo superintendent.

"They have nine duties they can perform until then," said Boucher "They will be seated later this month, and then they'll organize."

He said that Regional Superintendent Jodi Scott will meet with the new board and will have the seven elected people draw lots for which four members will have a four-year term, with the other three board members assigned to a two-year term. The new school board is then sworn in. The board will also select a board president and secretary. "At that point the school board will begin functioning as an independent group."

There are a number of duties that are included for the newly formed group including establishing a tax levy, hiring the new superintendent, hiring new administrators and staff, bargaining with the teachers and support staff unions, choosing an architect and district accountant, and developing a transition plan for the new district using the recommendations from the committee of 10.

In addition the new school board will choose a new school name, mascot and colors. The recommendation is that they can't be the same colors, names or mascots from either school district.

Boucher said that all the school board candidates agreed, during the pre-election forum, to rename the school and find a new mascot.

He said that they also agreed they would support the recommendations of the Committee of 10.

"I don't think there are going to be as many challenges for closing down the old school districts as there are for forming the new one," said Boucher.

His reaction to the consolidation approval rate in both districts was, "I was not surprised that the measure passed, but I was surprised at how large the margin was."

He said that around two weeks before the election he began to get a sense that the consolidation would pass. "I didn't sense a large looming opposition out there."