Consolidation IS cooperation

The consultant doing citizen and employee surveys for the Mountain Iron-Buhl and Virginia school districts says there is strong support for consolidation of the districts, not just cohabitation of a high school as previously discussed. (Story from today’s Mesabi Daily News).

I find the idea of districts sharing a building but maintaining separate administrations and school boards to be monumentally silly. Also silly is the idea that Greenway and Nashwauk-Keewatin sharing football and track will somehow solve those district’s significant money problems. (Efforts to share a superintendent and other administration have been delayed). Or that Hibbing and Chisholm wouldn’t also be better served by consolidation. It’s not a matter of biting bullets, it’s a matter of eliminating redundancy so that all Iron Range students have access to diverse and modern curriculum.

Clinging to buildings will leave the Iron Range with buildings and no people. To all those who, like me, owe some degree of today’s success to the great schools and teachers of the Iron Range ask yourself this, “Was it the building you remember, or the experiences?”


  1. To be honest, I actually remember the building quite well. At Grand Rapids High School, we had the best library – at the highest point of the building… windows everywhere… looking over a beautiful lake…

    Of course, I completely support school consolidation but I do have respect for the buildings that really do identify who many Iron Rangers are. That kind of history is hard to throw away.

    What about the possible protection of these buildings by the Historical Society?

  2. That’s a good point, Heather, but I see the preservation of historical sites and unique architecture as a different matter. There are ways to do that. But if an historic building is filled with half as many students and no advanced curriculum that’s not a good educational plan. That’s all I’m saying.

  3. Our district is also going through these discussions. I fear people make their voting decisions based on buildings not on educational needs. Buildings don’t make education. A new building can have nice stuff, but it won’t be a great school without great staff and programs and discipline. Sometimes a district sells an old building and a private school moves in with a good program, proving my point, to an extent.

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