Eveleth-Gilbert, Virginia voters approve school district consolidation

On Tuesday citizens in Eveleth, Gilbert and Virginia voted to approve the consolidation of two Mesabi Iron Range districts.

More than 77 percent of Virginia district voters backed consolidation while almost 54 percent of Eveleth-Gilbert voters supported the move. Both districts needed to approve the measure for it to take effect.

The new district will be called Rock Ridge. This matches the name selected for the new high school which will be constructed next year.

This action closes a circle that began with the decision to build a shared high school for the two districts. Consolidation was not part of that decision, but most anticipated merger as a long term outcome.

The next few years will be exceedingly difficult for Iron Range communities and institutions. This current economic slowdown will outlast stay-at-home orders and is already exposing pre-existing financial instability in towns and schools.

Consolidations of schools and even municipalities may become commonplace in this era. This region can’t paper over long term economic stagnation forever. Leaders can make decisions strategically, however, instead of reactively.



  1. I graduated from Nashwauk Keewatin. That merger, within the same school district, happened in 1962. It was hotly fought in both towns with people loosing their businesses over stating an opinion in favor of the merger. To this day I think you could still pick a fight in a bar in either town by bringing it up, though most of the die hards are long gone.

    These types of conflict still come up when a small town looses its identity and claim to glory. At least now economic necessity is making the need compelling.

    Here’s to the Keewatin Tigers and Nashwauk Colts, may they live on in our memories.

  2. Mike Worcester says

    In went to a consolidated school district. It struck me as I watched other consolidation battles take place that we all should remember we need to keep in mind the best interested not of those who graduated 5-10-25 years ago, but those who will graduate 5-10-25 years from now.

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