Posted Online: Nov. 08, 2012, 10:36 pm

Colona will join school consolidation study

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By Lisa Hammer rlhammer@qconline.com

COLONA — School board members on Thursday agreed to join a consolidation study with East Moline and Silvis grade schools and United Township High School.

Board president Jim Legare reported Hampton and Carbon Cliff did not participate in an Oct. 30 meeting of "partner schools." The other schools are basically in agreement with a consolidation study, he said, noting three options are being considered:

-- A complete merger, without the Hampton and Carbon Cliff districts

-- A three-way elementary pre-K through 8 district

-- Exploring other ways to share services and improve efficiency.

"We think we owe it to ourselves and taxpayers to at least explore it and see what could be done," he said. Afirmer plan is hoped for by the end of the year, Mr. Legare said.

The school board also approved a tentative property tax levy of $1,033,241, up $8,047 from last year. Preliminary information indicates the district's equalized assessed evaluation has fallen by approximately $500,000 from last year, compared to the traditional rise of a half percent to 3 percent.

"It means, in all likelihood when the (property tax) bills go out, we're going to bring in less money than we did last year," said superintendent Kyle Ganson.

He said the levy was set higher in case equalized assessed valuation turns out to rise when the final numbers come in next March. Should that happen, the owner of a $100,000 home would see school taxes rise by approximately $10 -- but it's not likely, Mr. Ganson said.

Mr. Ganson also announced the Colona school received a 21st Century grant to provide before- or after-school programs for the students, enrichment classes through Black Hawk College and possibly adult education classes.

The board also approved backing a1-cent school sales tax referendum on the April 9, 2013, ballot.