Small school districts are having a tough time making ends meet these days. Witness the struggles that the financially strapped Pillager and Crosby-Ironton school districts are experiencing now.
Certainly there are small school district success stories and particular advantages to a smaller district, but in general, there's a reason why the trend has been toward consolidating to larger school districts rather than breaking off into smaller districts. It's usually more efficient.
That's why it's puzzling to see some 600 residents of the former Motley School District are seeking legislation to re-establish that political entity by breaking off from the current Staples-Motley School District.
The loss of Motley High School was lamented by many former Motley Rockets. Small town high schools and their students are often the pride of those communities. More than just bricks and mortar, a high school serves as a community center and focal point for a small city.
Still the fiscal realities of the world will come around, as certain as the potholes in spring. Proponents of an independent Motley School District must provide evidence the financial numbers have dramatically changed since the once-financially-troubled district was paired with Staples in 1988 or consolidated in the 1994-95 school year.
Prospects for the bill are virtually nil, even according to the bill's House author, Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, who hopes the legislation will prompt discussion between the Staples and Motley factions within the school district.
That's probably the best outcome for everyone concerned. Perhaps the Motley school can be used for more activities, particularly those that might involve high school students. Maybe a school display could address the history of the former Motley School District.
A legislative remedy to this problem appears to be nothing but a dead-end. If the legislation is tweaked to include provisions for some sort of Staples-Motley School District vote it will only dredge up the hard feelings of 14 years ago.
It's time for the Staples-Motley School District to move forward.
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