Supporters of Kewanee school merger stay optimistic despite ‘no’ vote

KEWANEE, Illinois — The vote to merge two separate school districts in Kewanee, Illinois did not pass. It needed a majority vote in both Kewanee district and Wethersfield. Kewanee voted yes, Wethersfield voted no. But supporters of the plan stay positive.

Taking down hundreds of signs showing support for the consolidation is work two and a half years in the making for Bruce Tossell.

But all those yes signs weren't enough to bring the change he's hoped and planned for.

"We saw this as an opportunity to bring more education to the city of Kewanee," says Tossell, chairman of the group Citizens for Consolidation.

It was the first time an official vote was taken in more than 100 years which brought out opinions on both sides.

"Having the kids all together in one place would have been a good thing and probably would have saved some money," says Hezzie Moore, who voted yes.

But with the newness came unanswered questions.

"Where was it going to be? How many buildings? The tax increase, no one knew an exact number as far as I could tell. I don't think it was planned very well," says Maggie Delgado, who voted no.

There's no doubt a different outcome would have made things easier for the leader behind merging efforts, but this supporter is considering it a win.

"A lot of expense and time put into it, but well worth every penny because we did give the citizens the opportunity to speak," says Tossell.

A new feasibility study would have to be conducted before the decision could be voted on again.