Three Jefferson County Schools Look to Consolidate

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By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Jared Roberts

BLUFORD -- More school districts in Jefferson County are considering consolidation. This time, Bluford Grade School wants to merge with Webber Township High School and Farrington Grade School. 

"We're looking at economic reasons, financial reasons that are very difficult, curriculum, staff, combining services to make things a lot more efficient," says Bluford and Webber Superintendent John Ashby.
 
But he says convincing all three school districts to consolidate could prove difficult. Consolidating Bluford Grade School with the high school, just a few feet away, seems to be the easier sell than trying to get Farrington Grade School to merge with the rest of the area.
 
"That school is the center of their community, and they're hesitant," explains Ashby. "They don't want to lose the center of their community, and so we certainly understand that and take that into consideration."
 
Ashby says that's why the district is looking at an optional consolidation plan, requiring the high school district to vote yes and at least one of the grade schools. So if Farrington says no, partial consolidation can still happen while it remains separate.
 
Officials have collected enough signatures for a November ballot petition. They'll present them to the Regional Office of Education this week for approval.
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