North Gem Superintendent Talks about Bond and Possible Consolidation

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Updated: 4/23/2014 7:30 pm

With some of the smallest class sizes in the state, the
North Gem School District touts itself as a private school education at a
public school price.  There is a catch though;
these students are receiving their education in an outdated structure that doesn’t
meet code.

The district has plans to fix it but they can’t proceed
until they get approval from the tax payers.  

It’s kind of a unique situation in that the majority of
voters want to build a new school in Bancroft but the state requires a super
majority to pass a bond. The last vote came just to votes short and they’ll
give it another shot in an election on May 20th.

By now, voters in Bancroft are well aware of the situation
at the school.

“We don’t meet codes in a lot of areas, or any of the areas,
because of when it was constructed,” said Superintendent Holyoak.  

However not everyone is in favor of building a new one, but
they don’t need everyone.

“66.6-percent of the patrons really want a school here,”
said Holyoak. “We just need 66.7-percent.”

In towns like Bancroft, the school is more than just a

“The school is everything,” said Holyoak. “It’s the social
hub. It’s the only thing that really we can connect and build around.”

But they could soon be losing some of their control and
Superintendent Holyoak believes this threat will actually help them pass the
bond this time around.

“Consolidation is going to come to a vote and the people are
going to be able to choose and it’s going to be put to a vote, we hope once and
for all,” continued Holyoak. “Because in communities like this, consolidation
is kind of a bad word and so getting the people the opportunity to vote is not
a bad thing. And finding out for sure how the community is aligned and what
they feel passionate about is not a bad thing. The only thing that would be bad
is if we didn’t have people turning out to vote.”

A consolidation committee has been setup and they have said
that it is important to keep schools in both Grace and Bancroft. The panel is
in the process of gathering information for a possible consolidation. They will
then send that information to the State Board of Education for approval. After
that, it will be placed on the ballot for patrons in the North Gem and Grace
school districts to vote on.

It is not scheduled to be on the May 20th ballot
where voters in North Gem will be deciding on a bond to build a new school.

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