Clarion-Goldfield, Dows merger approved

CLARION – The Clarion-Goldfield and Dows community school districts will become one system in 2014, following the approval of a consolidation of both districts by voters Tuesday.

The vote to merge the two districts, which have been in a sharing agreement for the past nine years, passed 505 votes to 7 in the Clarion-Goldfield District and 178 votes to 30 in Dows, said Bob Olson, superintendent of both districts.

The districts first entered into a whole-grade sharing agreement in 2005, with grades seven through 12 sent to Clarion. The next year, sixth grade was also merged.

This year, all students in fourth through 12th grades went to Clarion, while Dows had its own preschool through third grade classes, Olson said. Under the new merger, all students preschool through 12th grade will attend classes in Clarion.

“Not much will be changing, except that all preschool through third-grade students will also be in Clarion next year,” said Olson.

Olson said the agreement was cut short by one year due to reorganization incentives. He said revenues in the Dows district were not meeting expenses and have been decreasing with each school year.

“The incentive was if we had a good vote to go into this for the 2014-2015 school year, our district would receive around a quarter million dollars a year,” said Olson. “Both the timing and incentives were good.”

Last year, the Clarion-Goldfield district had 800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and the Dows district had about 124.

The Dows district is in Wright and Franklin counties, while Clarion-Goldfield is in Wright, Humboldt and Hancock. As a merged district, Olson said the new district would cover about 350 square miles.

“We knew we would have a positive result with the great support we have been getting from both districts,” said Olson.