Kewanee-Wethersfield consolidation heads to November ballot

KEWANEE, Illinois - It's a big issue that could change two school districts.

It will be left up to the voters to decided whether or not to consolidate the Kewanee and Wethersfield school districts.

All that separates the Kewanee and Wethersfield school district is Division Street.

However some could say that street says a lot about the two districts that were divided more than 100 years ago.

"Wethersfield was founded first and then when the railroad came through town small businesses here moved north," said Lauren Lindstrom.

Then the two towns were formed, however one day someone suggested combing the two towns into one.

"It was just decided if you work together things will be better and they asked back then what about the schools they said we'll let someone else tackle that later down the road," said Bill Tossell, chairman of Citizens for Consolidation.

Now more than 100 years later people are now trying to tackle consolidating the two schools. A committee was formed and they have a feasibility study done. That study showed consolidating two districts could work.

Now the issues will be left up to the voters to decided in the November election.

Tossell says consolidating makes sense, "They both offer some things that are unique to each school our goal was to take what was good in both schools combine that together given the students more opportunities right there and add to it."

However, the community is divided on the issue.

Lauren's children and now grand children have gone through Wethersfield school district. They say they like the way things are, including class sizes.

"It's easier for the children I think to adjust to a smaller class and to go into a room of strangers for a large class," said his wife Diane.

The referendum would have to pass by both school districts.

If it does, the Citizen for Consolidation group says Kindergarten-6th grade will stay the same. While students will attend junior high at Wethersfield and high school students will go to Kewanee.