Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert approve shared high school plan

PHOTO: Asja Boroš, Flickr CC

Tonight voters in the Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert school districts appear to have approved a plan to build a shared high school that would serve both communities.

The districts have not yet released vote totals, but will on Wednesday. Unofficial reports showed the measure passing in all three communities. Despite the lack of information, referendum supporters declared victory late this evening.

UPDATE: Jerry Burnes of the Mesabi Daily News confirmed with an Eveleth-Gilbert district official that they are still counting absentee ballots in Eveleth; however, there aren’t enough votes left to overturn a solid Yes majority in that town.

As I previewed last week, this proposal marks a historic shift in Iron Range education. Communities often defined by parochial rivalries now accept collaboration or consolidation as viable options.

Under the special arrangement, the State of Minnesota and Department of Iron Range Resources would shoulder most of the cost of the new $200 million school complex. Local taxpayers would pay for about 19 percent of that total.

The new school proposal would place the campus on the northern edge of Eveleth near Virginia’s “Midway” community. Plans will soon take firmer shape after this elections results are confirmed.

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