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      Survey pushes districts to examine consolidation options

      A 20-page consolidation survey was handed out to Dickinson County residents during the month of June.

      It was put out by the Dickinson County Citizens Committee to ask people how they felt of consolidation of school districts in Dickinson County. Originally the survey looked at Iron Mountain, Breitung Township, Norway-Vulcan and North Dickinson districts, but soon became an examination of just Iron Mountain and Breitung Township districts as results were close of those in favor and those opposed. The results showed Breitung Township residents were in favor of consolidation 51 percent to 44 percent opposed.

      â??There was enough interest in Kingsford to suggest a look at, at least the data, the objective data, to see if joining services or combining services is an advantage for the Breitung Township Schools or if it's not an advantage,â?? said Breitung Township School District Superintendent, Craig Allen.

      In Iron Mountain, those in favor were higher; 61 percent were in favor over 34 opposed.

      â??As a whole, our Iron Mountain school board was in favor of the consolidation survey being administered and I think the main reason was just to see what our public thought,â?? said Iron Mountain School District Superintendent, Tom Jayne. â??Itâ??s come up, I believe, two other times in the past 30 years and were voted down by the respective districts.â??

      A discovery committee, of both superintendents and several board members, was designed to collect more data to see if combining services or consolidating is a viable option for both districts.

      â??The survey was done on an emotional level,â?? Allen said. â??There was no definition of what consolidation is; no plan, no data.â??

      â??Itâ??s an emotional subject and it's something you just can't do rapidly,â?? Jayne said.

      The discovery committee will hold their first meeting on Monday, August 18.