KEWANEE, Illinois (KWQC) — Kewanee parents and residents are weighing in on a proposed consolidation with the Wethersfield District.
A committee is now standing up to speak in favor of the consolidation. They are calling themselves “citizens for consolidation” and they are saying it’s time to unite the town with one school district.
Former Kewanee coach Frank Tocha says “I came to Kewanee 42 years ago and I’ve always kind of wondered why we had two school districts.”
The Wethersfield District has around 600 students, and Kewanee has more than 2,000. For years, parents had to make a choice about which school to send their student to. Some community members say it’s time to have just one.
“I have three daughters, and I taught all my career in Kewanee, and I was a teacher, coach and administrator. Actually until 4th grade we were in Wethersfield, we moved to Kewanee,” says Tocha.
The idea for a merger has been discussed many times in the past, but Bruce Tossell wanted to make it a reality. He formed a group of ten who raised money to have a feasibility study done, to find out what it would take.
Kewanee parents, graduates and tax payers from the group “Citizens for Consolidation” say the merger brings many positives.
“Opportunity is the key to keeping kids interest and keeping them in school.”
“Vocationally were down a lot of classes that we used to offer um and I know that with two school districts and a bigger size you can offer more things.”
Former Kewanee coach Frank Tocha says combining the schools would benefit clubs and sports.
“Were losing sports at both schools numbers are down and we can offer more things at a bigger school. Some people say that cuts opportunities, but we believe it will offer more opportunities,” says Tocha.
Kewanee and Wethersfield share many things, except a school.
“Why can’t we all play under the same lights, cheer for the same teams. I just really think change is hard, uh change is scary 15:11 uh but the only way to make progress is by changing things.”
Bruce Tossel says the feasibility study shows tax rates could increase, but he says if each school pays off it’s bonds, the taxes could stay the same or could potentially decrease.
A majority vote is needed in both townships for the consolidation to pass.