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Group to study Iroquois' future

A group of 30 volunteers, including parents, teachers, School Board members and administrators will help determine what the Iroquois School District will look like in the future.

A reconfiguration committee will begin the process of determining how the district will redistribute its nearly 2,900 students among six buildings, School Board President David Lowrey said, acknowledging that there is a "strong possibility" something will be done once the committee finishes its work.

"We have tight fiscal constraints. Times are tough; people are out of work. We need to save money but also maintain the integrity of the district," Lowrey said.

It is not the first time the district has considered reconfiguration options. Last spring, interim Superintendent Bruce Fraser brought several scenarios to the board. One involved the closing of an elementary school, of which the district has three, one each in the towns of Wales, Marilla and Elma.

Another option was sending fourth-graders back to their K-3 primary schools and making the intermediate building for grades 5 and 6 only and the middle school for grades 7 and 8. Years back, the three primary schools ran grades K-5, the School Board president said.

Ultimately, nothing was done because some community and board members were uncomfortable with making a major move under an interim superintendent, Lowrey said. The sentiment was that a permanent superintendent should be involved, because he would be living with whatever decision was made. The board appointed Douglas Scofield superintendent in May.

Lowrey said the board expects new options to be discussed, as well as some old ones revisited. Merging libraries, for example, has been brought up in the past, especially as the intermediate school and middle school libraries are about 500 feet away from each other.

The first reconfiguration committee meeting takes place Tuesday with Scofield facilitating.

Part of the group's duties, Lowrey said, is to meet with community members and organizations, gleaning their input and ideas. The School Board expects the volunteers to meet at least four times and then return to the board with a recommendation that would include the reconfiguration and the savings that would result, he said.