East Buchanan Schools celebrate 50 years of consolidation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

East Buchanan School District celebrates 50 years of consolidation

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WINTHROP (KWWL) -

An Eastern Iowa school district is celebrating 50 years of consolidation. Leaders with East Buchanan Schools say a lot has changed in their communities since 1961, but combining several smaller districts into one is as challenging now as it was then.

"With three communities, they wanted things to stay -- some of them -- the way things were. I'll have to admit, it takes a lot of good minds to advise people what to do," said Russel Stern.

Stern was the superintendent when the East Buchanan School District formed in 1961. He recalls, it was a struggle to consolidate Aurora, Quasqueton, and Winthrop -- along with several smaller townships. But Stern believes it was the right decision.

He credits district leaders who came after him, like Wayne Burke, for East Buchanan's success. Burke was superintendent from 1974-1992, and had words of wisdom for other districts currently considering a reformat. He said emotions can get high when talking about a community's alma matter.  That's when families should ask themselves: what are our priorities?

"If you're going to consolidate, make it a worthwhile project... for the kids. The parents and teachers come second -- sorry!" he said.

Graduating class sizes have gotten smaller in the past few years, but the district is seeing current growth in pre-k and kindergarten.

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