KEWANEE, Ill. (KWQC) — “Geese Strong Committee” is canvasing the town asking voters to vote against consolidation to save the small Wethersfield School District.
This decision sits on the November ballot, to bring together two school districts: Kewanee and Wethersfield. It’s a proposal the schools have looked at for years, and at times it’s an issue that has divided the community.
If you drive through both townships, you will see signs everywhere saying “Vote yes” or “Vote no.” These signs show the town’s current political division, causing tension for community members.
Kimber Rose, “Geese Strong Committee” member, said the tension is growing as Election Day gets closer.
“This whole town has been torn apart for the last few months, due to the fact that consolidation has been brought up so many times,” said Rose.
The district of Wethersfield is a smaller option for families in the area, with enrollment around 600. Kewanee is the bigger school with around 2,000 students. It has been a tradition for the community to have a choice between which district parents send their children to.
Ann VanWassenhoven said this option to choose is what helps the community of Kewanee thrive. “My mom used to be a realtor here in town, and that’s on thing that she could point out when she showed houses,” said VanWassenhoven, ” You have Kewanee Schools, this is their size, and then here’s Wethersfield, this is their size.”
VanWassenhoven supports “Geese Strong,” a group named for the Wethersfield school mascot, the flying geese. Her children are graduates of Wethersfield and her youngest is a junior.
“I don’t see anything that would enrich my child any better,” said VanWassenhoven.
Robert Eastman, Wethersfield alumni, said he enjoyed the small classes his school had to offer.
“Almost everyone knows your story, knows what you’re trying to accomplish in life, what your home life might be, you know if you are struggling,” said Eastman.
Members of “Geese Strong” want the school traditions of Wethersfield to live on. That includes the option to choose which school your children attend.
“I would like to keep the flying geese and the boilermakers right here in Kewanee, the city of choice,” said Rose.
Both Townships will get a chance to vote for or against consolidation on Election Day.
“It’s very important that people know that it’s time to get out and vote,” said Rose.
This is the first part of a two part series. Tuesday TV-6 will sit down with those who support the consolidation and bring you their views, stay tuned.