GILLETT GROVE, Iowa -- Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election, after 21 years in the South Clay Community School District, Superintendent David Schulz is looking for a new job.
“The district won’t exist after June 30,” whether or not voters approve the dissolution of the district that has just 132 students, Schulz said.
Of the 132 certified students, 35 pre-K to sixth-grade students attending classes in Gillett Grove. And, there isn’t a kindergarten class this year, though there are seven in the pre-K class.
The remaining 97 students are in junior and senior high and attend classes in adjacent districts under a whole-grade sharing program that was established 17 years ago.
While the 700-some registered voters in the district are being asked to dissolve the school system into the nearby districts, Schulz said Friday that should approval not be given, the Area Education Agency will make the decisions on student placement in July, as the district will dissolve regardless of the outcome of the election.
But Schulz said he expects the plan to be approved because it was constructed at the request of the taxpayers in the district, with consideration to the students involved. “We spent a great deal of time with this. The committee that put the plan together did an excellent job. The plan is what the patrons wanted.”
Spencer is expected to get about half the enrollment from South Clay, with Sioux Central nearly that same percentage, and Laurens–Marathon, Ruthven–Ayrshire and Clay Central–Everly only one or two students each.
When South Clay went to the whole-grade sharing program in 1993, there were 232 students in the district, Schulz said. He added that the plan at that time was that the district would cease to function in three to five years. “So this election is not a surprise,” Schulz said.
Clay County Auditor Marjorie Pitts plans to have more than 700 ballots on hand Tuesday, but said she will be pleased even if even 100 turn out for the election, as the usual turnout for school board elections is less than half that.
Absentee ballots may be cast at the courthouse from 8 to 11 a.m., and votes may be cast at the school in Gillett Grove, from noon, until 8 p.m. The election will be decided by a simple majority.