Districts (quietly) consider consolidation

DEERFIELD, Mich. – The Deerfield school board wants to learn more about school consolidation and annexation, according to a report in the Adrian Daily Telegram, and an attorney says they aren’t the only ones.

The smallest district in Lenawee County, Deerfield Public Schools, hosted Beverly Bonning, an attorney with the Thrun Law Firm in East Lansing, and Del Cochran, former Adrian Public Schools superintendent, at a school board meeting recently to discuss each option, the Daily Telegram reported.

Annexation is the term used when one district becomes part of another, the article said. Bonning said that the “takeover” district adopts a resolution to that effect, which must be approved by the state board of education as well as voters of the district being annexed.

Consolidation is the term used when two districts merge to form a single new district, the Daily Telegram reported. In that case, teachers and other school employees technically lose their positions, though they could be rehired by the new district. Bonning said that millages also are reconfigured, according to the report.

Bonning said that other school districts in Michigan have been contacting her about both options, the Daily Telegram reported.

She told the board, “I’m getting a lot of phone calls regarding annexation and consolidation. I applaud this board for talking about this openly. There are other districts talking about this, but no one in the community knows about it.”

Adrian Daily Telegram, “Deerfield board examines options for future,” April 22, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, “Merger talks end in Arenac County,” April 23, 2009