Two Butler Co. schools to merge - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Two Butler Co. schools to merge

GREENE (KWWL)-- In Butler County, voters have approved a merger between two schools.  The results for the Allison-Bristow and Greene districts mean the two will completely integrate at the end of this school year.  So why are they merging?  And what's next in the process?

Over the years, the Greene School District has been slowly shrinking.  So back in 2004, it began a partnership with nearby Allison, which had also been seeing declining enrollment.

"When you lose enrollment, you lose money because of the state formula.  So it makes it more difficult to hold onto programs that you want to provide to kids.  So by sharing or organizing together, you have the ability to combine assets, combine resources and staff, and provide the best you possibly can for kids," said Terry Kenealy, superintendent of both districts.

That's why district leaders wanted to make the partnership permanent through the merger approved Tuesday.

"The realization was if we want to keep schools in our communities, we're going to need to consolidate to maintain the viability of our school system.  So that's why the board members put this in front of voters," Kenealy said.

The merge means the newly combined North Butler Community Schools will operate under one school board and one budget, which the schools hope make them more efficient in both the short and long terms.

"With the additional strength of those resources, we may be able to enhance programs so that we can offer kids a little bit more than we can now under the current arrangement," said Kenealy.

"It's kind of sad to say I wasn't a part of it.  But I'm glad it's passed now.  And to me, I guess I've always felt like we were North Butler because I think we all got along really well.  It's just exciting now that it's finally passed," said Morgan Steere, a senior at Greene High School.

District leaders just hope that the merger happens smoothly, as the schools work to keep providing a quality education for students under a unified name.

Merging the schools does come with some financial perks.  The district will be able to keep the additional funding offered to schools with share services, for an extra three years.  There's also a slight drop in property taxes for people in Allison and Greene during that time frame.

Online reporter:  Kera Mashek

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