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School consolidation goes to a vote

In the last few months, there's been several community meetings about consolidating Hutsonville and Palestine schools. Tuesday, it was put to a vote in the Illinois Primary Elections.

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 6:28 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 6:28 PM

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) - The future of two Crawford County Illinois schools rides on the results of Tuesday’s primary election.

The two schools we're talking about are Palestine School District 3, and Hutsonville School District 1.

While this isn't the first time consolidation has made the ballot, it is clear opinions are very strong on both sides of the issue.

In the last few months, there have been several community meetings about consolidating Hutsonville and Palestine schools. It's an option Palestine resident Erin McCoy says she's against.

McCoy says, "Today I voted 'no.' I don't think it's the best long-term solution. I think we're strong here in Palestine and then you know if we need to explore other options, we might be willing to do that in the future."

Over time, both districts say they have struggled with issues like declining enrollment and teacher shortages. But some believe merging the two could help give students more opportunities.

Hutsonville resident Doug Newlin says, "It should've happened decades ago. The school continually loses more and more students, not just ours, but Palestine. And in the long run, they've cut classes, and the students need the opportunity to be able to succeed."

While there are varying opinions on whether the two schools should consolidate, the silver lining to the situation is many people made their voices heard by going out to vote. The residents proved just how much they care about the future of their students.

McCoy says, "I think it's important to vote for the future. I've got my two little girls here and my vote is for the change I wish to see for them."

Hutsonville resident Tom Bridgewater says, "I always come out and vote. It's my civic duty to do so. If you don't vote don't gripe. A vote's the only word you've got."

Once voting results are in, News 10 will bring you complete election coverage on-air and online.

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