By: Kate Pabich
Some rural Iowa students might soon be wearing rival school colors. A merger passed Tuesday night to combine two school districts. Both Preston Community School District and East Central needed a majority vote to pass. Over 86% in the Preston District voted yes, but it was much closer in the East Central District, winning by just 20 votes. It's been a community divided, next door neighbors suddenly standing on opposite sides of the street. East Central Superintendent, Neil Gary, says it was low numbers causing the problem. "Our biggest obstacle is declining enrollment, and decrease in funding. It costs more to run a school so it's a major concern we share with lot of districts our size in the state" Both districts were in the same boat. But some residents don't think the districts merger into Easton Valley is a good idea. East Central already has to ship their high schoolers off to North East School District because of low numbers, now it will be up to the new board to decide if instead, students will be sent to Preston. When it comes to school rivalry though, switching schools may get tricky. But even if there are hurdles to jump, it could mean great things for the students says, Preston School Superintendent, Robert Lagerblade. "The opportunity when you combine school districts you can be more efficient financially, better usage of your teachers and they think it gives better opportunity for the kids of the two school districts." A school board for the new Easton Valley district will be elected in January, from there they will decide which schools to close.