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Odebolt-Arthur Battle Creek/Ida Grove reorganization

Residents in the Odebolt-Arthur and the Battle Creek-Ida Grove school districts voted Tuesday to combine both districts.

A vote to combine Odebolt-Arthur and Battle Creek-Ida Grove school districts failed Tuesday night. 

Both districts must have had 50 percent plus one vote to unify, and it failed in the Odebolt-Arthur school district. Out of their 757 ballots, 57 percent--or 425 voters-- said no.

Voters in the Battle Creek-Ida Grove school district passed to unify with 84 percent of the 790 ballots. 

According to election results, 24 percent of registered Battle Creek-Ida Grove voters participated; compared to 55 percent of Odebolt-Arthur registered voters. 

The two have been whole-grade sharing in grades six through 12 since 2009. Under the agreement, students attend middle school in Odebolt and high school in Ida Grove. Both towns have an elementary school for kindergarten through fifth grade.

Superintendent Terry Kenealy said reorganization would have streamlined some budget items such as program memberships and subscriptions, lead to one school board and one handbook and savings on property taxes. Sharing memberships could have saved up to $50,000 and a restructuring of health insurance could have saved up to $200,000.

Although, concerns were raised over board equality. If reorganization would have happened, the board would have consisted of four members from the Battle Creek-Ida Grove area, two from the Odebolt-Arthur area and an at-large member. The representation was determined by the amount of residents in each district according to the 2010 census. Battle Creek-Ida Grove accounted for about 3,900 residents while Odebolt-Arthur had just more than 2,000.

Kenealy said the two boards will meet in the coming weeks to reconvene.

"The boards will need to meet and evaluate the results and make some decisions about what the next steps should be," Kenealy said Tuesday night. "The voters had the opportunity to vote on the issue. And that is what we wanted them to be able to do is to say yes or no to the idea of reorganization, and today they had that chance. They have spoken."

The ballot in each district also had a vote to fill school board vacancies. Danika Hinkeldey won in Battle Creek-Ida Grove uncontested. Ryan Schroeder nudged out Deb Bengford for an Odebolt-Arthur seat. 


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Crime and general assignment reporter

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