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Whiteside could combine with Lee/Ogle ROE

Repairs ast Coloma/Nelson merger to be on ballot

ROCK FALLS – The Whiteside County Regional Office of Education likely will combine with the Lee/Ogle County regional office by 2015.

Regional Superintendent Bob Sondgeroth will meet Thursday with officials to discuss the reorganization, he told the regional board at its quarterly meeting Monday night.

The Lee/Ogle office is the only one that “stepped up” and offered to consolidate, Sondgeroth said.

A special state commission created in fall 2011, when legislators agreed to pay regional superintendents after the governor vetoed it from his budget, has recommended the number of regional offices be reduced from 44 to 35, effective in 2015.

Sondgeroth, who is elected to his position as regional superintendent, would lose his job; he does not intend to seek election to the new, consolidated regional office.

“I don’t believe in running just to run,” he said. “Amy Jo (Clemens, regional superintendent in Lee and Ogle counties) is doing a good job. I’m not going to run against her.”

Sondgeroth hopes to find positions for all the employees of the Whiteside County office with the new three-county office.

Nelson, East Coloma consolidation

Sondgeroth told the board the Nelson-East Coloma consolidation measure will appear on the ballot April 9. He must submit paperwork to the county clerk by Jan. 22, but he plans to have it to her by the end of the week.

First, residents will vote whether to merge the two schools, Sondgeroth said. Then, if they approve the consolidation, candidates who seek seats on the at-large board of the consolidated district will take office; but if they deny it, candidates who seek seats on their respective district boards will take office, he said.

School construction

Sondgeroth also told the board that the cafeteria addition at Dillon Elementary in Rock Falls is slated to open March 1, only 2 weeks behind schedule. 

The school now uses its gym as a cafeteria at lunchtime, Sondgeroth said. The addition will allow the school to offer physical education to all students every school day, he said.

Sondgeroth also said the Tampico Middle School addition is complete, and the Tampico Elementary School addition should be complete by late March or early April.

Sterling’s withdrawal from Bi-County

Sterling Public Schools have filed a petition to withdraw from the Bi-County Special Education Cooperative, effective with the 2014-15 school year, Sondgeroth told the board.

The 10 remaining districts in the cooperative – eight in Whiteside County and two in Carroll County – must approve the move. If at least one of the member districts does not approve the withdrawal, the matter would go before the regional board, he said.

Board members questioned the rationale behind the withdrawal and pondered its effect on the cooperative. Sondgeroth reminded them that the issue is not even in their hands – and might not ever reach their hands.

“All we can do is sit back with an open mind,” he said.

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