Vote could be the end for one local school district - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Vote could be the end for one local school district

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An upcoming community vote could mean the end for one Iowa school district.

A community petition nearly two years ago is coming to a head on September 12th when the district will vote to keep or dissolve the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District. 

The vote has people in the area strongly divided.

In an unprecedented turn of events people, mainly in the Gladbrook area, gathered enough signatures to bring the future of the district into question.

Thursday night, young athletes played their heart outs while proudly displaying "Rebels" on their jersey.

"This is all my kids have ever known is GR," said Shawn Murphy, a GR parent.

But that could change with an upcoming vote to dissolve the Gladbrook-Reinbeck district.

"To be honest. I am getting sick and tired of the person in Gladbrook that is forcing this down everybody's throat. They need to stop this nonsense and we need to move on and grow as communities together and get past all this," said Murphy.

A map shows GR divided into five current school districts if the dissolution passes on September 12.

It is something many support following the closing of the middle & elementary schools in Gladbrook two years ago.

"I can't even tell you. I live a block from the school and it is everything I can do to drive by the building. I went kindergarten and graduated from that school. It breaks my heart to see it lost," said Betty Schmitz from Gladbrook.

The school closings were a $400,000 cost saving effort by the school board.

Like many small district in the state, the district has seen a decrease in enrollment over the years.

Michael Bearden who has been spear heading the dissolution says it isn't enough.

"GR is not sustainable. They got a $400,000 gift last year that bought them some time. It is not sustainable," said Bearden, a former school board member.

But the GR Superintendent argues there is no immediate financial concern.

"I am sure you have heard of our back-to-back state football championships and multiple trips down to Wells Fargo for basketball. Those are things that make the headlines, but GR really is a leader in education . . . We do it in a very fiscally responsible way. We have one of the lower school property tax rates in the state," said GR Superintendent David Hill.

GR lost about 80 of the nearly 500 students to open enrollment after the Gladbrook closing.

Superintendent Hill says if numbers stay level, the school is financially sounds for the years to come.

Some have expressed concern, saying the way the dissolution is written on the ballot is confusing.

A yes vote would be a vote to get rid of the GR district. A no vote would allow the Rebels to continue fighting. 

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