The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 20, 2012

Northeast responds to Easton Valley merger

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

GOOSE LAKE — A newly created Easton Valley School District will affect more than just East Central and Preston school districts.

Northeast, which was in a whole-grade sharing agreement with East Central schools, also will be impacted by the school district recently approved in Jackson County.

However, Northeast Superintendent Jim Cox is not worried about what impact the creation of the Easton Valley School District will have on his district.

“At this point, I’m not anticipating much of any impact,” Cox said. “We will continue to focus on what is best for students and to provide additional opportunities that might become available.”

Results from a special election became official this week combining East Central and Preston into Easton Valley for the 2013-14 school year.

The whole-grade sharing agreement between Northeast and East Central involves students being sent from East Central to Northeast for grades 7 to 12. Cox said most of the students attended Northeast, with some opting to open enroll to Preston High School.

He felt the agreement has worked well.

“The students from East Central were easily assimilated into our school,” Cox said. “For the most part, everybody has been happy.”

With the consolidation of Preston and East Central into Easton Valley, East Central students wanting to remain at Northeast will now have to open enroll into the district. Cox said the district has already received a number of open enrollment requests and he thinks more are coming.

He added that some people feel that Northeast may benefit financially from the consolidation, due to open enrollment.

Cox plans to wait and see.

“The one thing you don’t do in school finance, you don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” Cox said.

Cox said they will be able to determine what financial impact the consolidation will have in April. He felt there will be very little if any impact. Cox is not concerned about enrollment changes due to the consolidation.

“I think we have enough to offer as a school district and the reputation we have as an educational institution really will be of great benefit to us and will offset any negative impact that an organization might have in another school district,” Cox said. “We want parents to send their kids where they feel they will get the best education.”

Cox wished the new Easton Valley district well. He added that Northeast would assist the district if needed.