East-West Sch District Talks

East, West Richland Districts Talks

 The following news article appeared on the Olney website March 22 reporting on a March 8th meeting.



“East, West Richland continue courtship”

Representatives of each board, both superintendents met March 8

Olney Daily Mail - Olney, IL

By Kevin Ryden

Mar. 22, 2013 5:23 pm

East Richland School District Board of Education continued its discussion Thursday during its monthly meeting about West Richland's interest in possibly annexing with the district.

On March 8, two board members from each district and both superintendents met in East Richland's district office. Annexation and deactivation were discussed.

If deactivation were chosen, West Richland would have to place the issue on the March 2014 election ballot. West Richland would have to have agreements with one or more East Richland schools and pay tuition and transportation for students.

The receiving schools would receive the tuition for students and incentive funds if they were available. The receiving schools would have the expense of additional teachers on the salary schedule in proportion to the number of students received, said Superintendent Marilyn Holt.


West Richland is concerned about the cost of tuition and transportation.

The state may cut transportation funding from 75 percent to 19 percent in the next fiscal year.

During discussion about annexation at the March 8 meeting, transportation, West Richland's buildings, bonded debt, board representation and the change of the district name were discussed.

In addition to the possible major cuts in transportation, another concern is the distance to school. Olney is the center of Richland County, but not the center of East Richland School District.

Students to the east of Olney who currently attend the district, will still have more miles and time on a bus, according to Holt.

The question was raised about how long an attendance center should be promised to West Richland. Holt said the decision was that it should be in the community as long as it makes sense educationally and financially.

The consensus for the debt issue was that all children would be taking advantage of the buildings so that all debt should be assumed by both districts, Holt said.

It was mentioned that with planning and a possible 1-percent sales tax, property taxes could decrease in both districts.

Two ex-officio board members from West Richland would serve as non-voting members on East Richland's board until the next election.

West Richland is in favor of changing the district name to Richland County School District, Holt said. West Richland has no problem with leaving sport's teams names as Olney Tigers.

If annexed is pursued by the new boards following the April 9 election, a resolution would need to be approved by West Richland by July or August to have the districts annexed by August 2014.

The process could take six months. Holt said there would need to be time to plan for classes, teaching assignments, professional development and other details.