IDA GROVE, Iowa | Voters in the Odebolt-Arthur and Battle Creek-Ida Grove school districts passed a consolidation proposition Tuesday after it failed two previous times.
According to BC-IG results, 540 voters said yes to the reorganization and 70 voted against it. In Odebolt-Arthur, there were 418 yes votes and 163 no votes. It marks the first time in three tries both districts give the consolidation a majority vote of 50 percent plus one per Iowa code.
The vote failed in 2011 and 2016. In those previous elections, voters in BC-IG overwhelmingly approved the merger, while it failed in O-A. Concerns were raised about fair representation on the combined school board since it will be based on population.
Terry Kenealy, the superintendent for both districts, said Tuesday he is excited the disagreements can be a thing of the past.
"I believe the voters made a decision that was in the best interest of the students, families, communities, in order to provide for the long term for the kids from an educational standpoint and from a financial standpoint," he said. "I'm excited about the potential now of what we have here at OA-BCIG."
The districts have had a whole-grade sharing agreement for eight years, with the middle school in Odebolt and high school in Ida Grove. Both towns have their own elementary schools for grades K-5.
Kenealy said the reorganization will streamline some budget items. However, the district will lose state money toward sharing positions such as a superintendent, business manager, and others.
No buildings will close as part of the reorganization, he said.
The merger doesn't begin until July 1, 2018. The superintendent said the two school boards will meet in the next 45 days to determine the composition of the new school board. BC-IG will appoint four members to the board for the new school district, and O-A will pick two members. After that, discussions will take place to appoint an at-large member or have it go to a special election.