Sherrard looks at consolidation, again

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Evidence of the Sherrard School Board retreat were seen at Wednesday's Aug. 19 board meeting. Student and district qualities were encouraged.

The board of education in Sherrard gave tacit approval for Superintendent Rebecca Rodocker to begin talking to Dick Deets, superintendent of Orion CUSD #223 about revisiting a possible consolidation of the two districts. Declining enrolloment at Sherrard is one of the things on Sherrard's mind.

Dr. Tim Arbet, board member at Sherrard said this at Wednesday's Aug. 19, Sherrard BOE meeting -- "The state very much is going to try to eliminate smaller districts."

Whether or not Sherrard or Orion would be considered one of those "smaller districts," was not said, but the board agreed it would be better to be "pro-active."

Rodocker was directed to find out if Orion is still looking around at consolidation.

"They've probably got some of the same kind of issues that we have," Arbet said.

Rodocker put the consolidation issue on the agenda for the board to consider. "It's a chance for you to control your own destiny," she said. "We've been losing (student) population to the tune of 30 per year for the past three years," she told the board.

Orion and Sherrard are already collaborating on some things. Sherrard and Orion are combined for soccer.

"We could talk about sharing staff, sharing programs and sharing resources," said Rodocker. "Tell me where you want me to go," she said to the board.

One suggestion was to make the study that was looked at by both districts three to four years ago available to the public by republishing it on the school's web site (

Another suggestion was for Rodocker to have lunch with the Orion's superintendent sometime soon. "Orion's going to have to do something," said Arbet.

"What are your thoughts?" Rodocker asked the board again.

Larry Stone, long time board member, pointed to the merger of Sherrard and the Winola Schools. "What would we be if we hadn't merged with Winola?" he asked redundantly. "That's probably been one of the most positive things I've been a part of," he said.

For more on this story see the Aug. 26, 2009 issue of The Times Record.